MLS returned to action after a four-month quarantine pause and, as part of the return, teams have welcomed a slew of new jersey sponsors. We recently highlighted the new opportunity presented to teams as the league eased restrictions on where sponsor logos could be included. Why provide teams additional resources or jersey real estate to sell sponsorship?
Additional uniform ad space is important for several reasons, the most obvious of which is additional revenue sources for teams that could use an economic boost. More sponsors can often indicate the health of an organization or team as brands want to align themselves with a team that has ardent local or regional support. Another reason why additional sponsor opportunities is important is, as a result of the global pandemic, a lot of teams and their brand partners have missed out on contractual assets.
What sleeve, shorts sponsors have MLS teams added?
We entered the 2020 season with sleeve sponsors allowed in MLS for the first time since the 1996 season. Five teams – Atlanta, D.C., Kansas City, LAFC, and Toronto – took advantage. Now, every team in the league has at least one sleeve partner and several have added a short sponsor, as well. See the full rundown below.
|Team||Sleeve 1||Sleeve 2||Shorts|
|Atlanta United FC||Piedmont Healthcare*||Truist||Napa Auto Parts|
|Chicago Fire FC||Motorola||CIBC|
|FC Cincinnati||Cintas||First Financial Bank|
|Colorado Rapids||Western Union||World Financial Bank|
|Columbus Crew SC||Scotts Miracle-Gro||OhioHealth|
|D.C. United||Caesar's Entertainment*||Gainbridge||Events DC|
|Houston Dynamo||Kroger||Couchatta Casino Resort|
|Los Angeles FC||Target*||Target||Truly Hard Seltzer|
|LA Galaxy||Herbalife Nutrition||Dignity Health|
|Inter Miami CF||Baptist Health||Coca-Cola|
|Minnesota United FC||Allianz||Bell Bank|
|Montreal Impact||Saputo||Frigo Cheese Heads|
|New England Revolution||Santander||Gillette|
|New York City FC||Ford||AT&T|
|New York Red Bulls||Yanmar||Yanmar|
|Orlando City SC||Exploria||Fairwinds Credit Union|
|Portland Timbers||Key Bank||AT&T|
|Real Salt Lake||Key Bank||Ford|
|San Jose Earthquakes||Clover||Wells Fargo|
|Seattle Sounders FC||WaFd Bank||WaFd Bank|
|Sporting Kansas City||Compass Minerals||Compass Minerals||Children's Mercy|
|Toronto FC||BMO||GE Appliances*|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC||GE Appliances||Canadian Tire|
*sleeve sponsor prior to the MLS is Back Tournament (more info)
MLS Unites patch gives players opportunity to chime in
We’d be remiss if we didn’t also mention the additional jersey feature for teams participating in the MLS is Back Tournament. On the heels of the Black Players Coalition announcement, the league, MLS WORKS, and the MLS Players Association have come together under the MLS Unites banner to allow customizable patches below the numbers on the back of every jersey.
Unlike the NBA where players can only choose from a pre-selected list of supportive terms, MLS player are able write a message that resonates with them. You can see a variety of the messages below or read up on what each FC Cincinnati player, for example, chose.