Audi and Major League Soccer today announced a landmark, multi-year partnership agreement. The partnership, which commences with the start of the 2015 MLS season, makes Audi the Official Automotive Partner of MLS. As part of the partnership, Audi becomes the presenting sponsor of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Audi's relationship with MLS corresponds with the next phase of the League's evolution. In 2015, MLS' 20th season will include a new-look crest, two new expansion clubs, new star players, new media partners and a new elite automotive partner. The MLS season kicks off tonight when the LA Galaxy take on the Chicago Fire (UniMás, 10:00 p.m. ET).
With the highest percentage of millennial audience of any major U.S. sport, the partnership with MLS will allow Audi to reach a diverse, passionate and fast-growing audience that aligns with the brand's strategy of reaching the next generation of millennial buyers.
"Audi's partnership with MLS parallels the aggressive, challenger spirit of the two brands," said Loren Angelo, Director of Marketing, Audi of America. "Audi remains committed to soccer and raising the profile of the game in the United States. Last year the league's attendance hit an all-time high. As a major supporter of the sport globally, we're looking forward to cultivating the enthusiasm of soccer stateside and driving participation of the sport in a new way."
Under the agreement, Audi will use MLS intellectual property to establish an authentic connection with soccer fans across North America. The agreement also includes a number of media extensions including field level signage (fieldboards) during nationally televised MLS broadcasts.
With MLS' new broadcast and media rights partnership with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes, soccer fans throughout the country will be provided with go-to networks, changing the way fans view soccer in America. For the first time in MLS history, soccer fans will be able to enjoy a game of the week on Friday evenings on UniMás and a doubleheader every Sunday on ESPN2 and FOX Sports 1.
Throughout the season, Audi will air MLS-themed television commercials during nationally-televised games on ESPN, FOX and Univision, including the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup. A new 30-second TV spot called "The Game" will highlight the excitement of soccer and all the emotion that the game brings. The commercial will be updated throughout the season with key moments that transpire over the upcoming months and with real fan footage captured in stadiums around the country.
"We are excited to welcome Audi to the MLS family," said Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director, MLS Business Ventures. "Audi is an elite brand that is committed to helping the sport of soccer grow in North America and we look forward to partnering with them for many years to come."
As soccer has continued to grow in popularity, Audi has continued their dedication to the game by bringing fans exciting activations that enhance their soccer experience. Last summer Audi began a season-long commitment in the United States with a giant LED scoreboard illuminated by the headlights of 28 Audi A8 sedans to display the 2014 World Cup scores. In July, the brand hosted its first-ever U.S. Audi Football Summit.
Audi currently has existing partnerships with Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers FC through local dealerships. Audi will further complement their soccer properties with additional MLS club deals to be announced in the near future.
The new MLS partnership complements Audi's Global Soccer footprint that includes Real Madrid and FC Bayern Munich sponsorships.
Audi of America, Inc. and its U.S. dealers offer a full line of German-engineered luxury vehicles. AUDI AG is among the most successful luxury automotive brands globally. The Audi Group delivered over 1,741,000 vehicles to customers globally in 2014, and broke all-time company sales records for the 5th straight year in the U.S. Through 2019, AUDI AG plans to invest about 24 billion euros -- 70 percent of the investment will flow into the development of new models and technologies. Visit www.audiusa.com or www.audiusa.com/newsroom for more information regarding Audi vehicles and business topics.
ABOUT MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Major League Soccer kicks off its 20th season tonight, featuring 20 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. The 2015 season will feature the most comprehensive U.S. media rights partnership in the history of the league, as eight-year agreements with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes will commence. The 2015 regular season schedule can be viewed here. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com.
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