July 10 – Major League Soccer has signed its first spirit sponsor with Captain Morgan becoming the league’s official spiced rum and exclusive spirits partner.
The three-and-a-half-year deal starts this month and runs through the end of 2022. No official value was given for the sponsorship though estimates put it at more than $10 million for the term of the deal.
Brand owner Diageo said it is its first national partnership with a sports league in the US and its “biggest and most integrated sports sponsorship”.
The sponsorship includes the MLS All-Star game – against Atletico Madrid in Orlando, August 2 – the Campeones Cup (August 14 between the winner of Liga MX and the MLS) and MLS Cup (November 10).
The rum brand also becomes an official sponsor of Chicago Fire Soccer Club, D.C. United, New York City FC, Philadelphia Union and Seattle Sounders FC.
Fans will be able to buy custom labelled bottles of Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum fin team colours and crests.
“From New York to Seattle to Los Angeles, everything about Major League Soccer, its intensely passionate fanbase, the atmosphere at each match, and the exciting growth of the sport in the U.S. mirrors the energy that Captain Morgan stands for,” said Christina Choi, DIAGEO Senior Vice President, Rum, Gin & Tequila. “Our goal is to reward that dedicated fanbase, and the crews that get together to support their clubs each and every week.”
The MLS announced in June that it had relaxed rules to allow sports betting and spirits companies to advertise on shirt fronts and new sleeve patches. It is the first of the US major leagues to do so.
MLS senior vice president of business development Carter Ladd said that discussion with spirits brands had been taking place over a year. “We’ve been really excited,” he said “Anytime you can be front and center with a market leader, that’s a great thing. Captain Morgan was a clear leader in the clubhouse for us.”
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