Major League Soccer (MLS) has renewed its exclusive apparel deal with Adidas, in what is the largest commercial partnership in the league’s history.
The new contract will run for six years – from 2018 to 2024 – and is reported to be worth some US$700 million in total, far higher than the current eight-year deal worth US$25 million per year.
As well as continuing to produce uniforms, footwear and training gear for all 22 clubs in MLS, Adidas will remain the official supplier of apparel to MLS youth academies, development leagues and youth-affiliated clubs, as per sportspromedia.com report.
Adidas became the exclusive apparel partner of MLS in 2004, although it had previously supplied three of the ten founding franchises that comprised the league when it formed in 1996. Its previous contract was agreed in 2010.
The new agreement represents the German brand’s largest-ever investment in North American soccer, and comes at a time when MLS is enjoying strong growth in TV ratings, attendances and merchandise sales, and unprecedented interest among prospective franchise owners.
Forbes notes that, at an average of nearly US$117 million per year, the deal is larger than MLS’s current TV contracts with Fox, ESPN and Univision, which are worth a combined US$90 million a year on average.
“It is by far the biggest deal in the history of our league,” MLS commissioner Don Garber told Forbes. “This deal, in my perspective, helps solidify our position as the leading soccer property in North America. This is a really strong statement about where MLS is today, and how we’re poised for a very positive and energised future.”
Though MLS currently includes 22 teams, the league hopes to grow to 28 in the coming years. Los Angeles FC will join MLS in 2018, with David Beckham’s Miami outfit likely to follow soon after. The league plans to announce its 25th and 26th franchises, which will be selected from 12 prospective ownership groups, by the end of this year.