Ally Bank - Charlotte MLS
Mike Koeshartanto

Ally Bank Invests Heavily in Charlotte & MLS

The stars are aligning in Charlotte. Following the awarding of a Major League Soccer franchise, the to-be-named team announced multiyear partnership with Ally Bank. The deal, worth a reported $7 million annually, sees the online bank become the team’s jersey sponsor. While actual numbers aren’t available, at that valuation, the deal instantly becomes one of the most lucrative in the league.

The Charlotte franchise, owned by Carolina Panthers (NFL) owner David Tepper, continues to illustrate its viability in the market and has the sponsor commitment to boot. A reported 60 area companies have already committed to $100,000-a-year suite leases at Bank of America Stadium specifically for MLS games.

Ally looks to millennial maturation, soccer interest

Decades from now we’ll look back on the growth of MLS and point to the maturation of the millennial as a seminal moment that help take the league to new heights – Charlotte is a perfect example of this point. Millennials account for 40 percent of the city’s population growth between 2007 and 2018. A similar boom in Hispanic and Latino population at a higher rate than whites or African Americans has helped usher in a soccer-hungry audience.

Charlotte’s demographics are young, diverse, and tech-savvy – all attractive characteristics to an online-only bank. In fact, millennials account for the largest portion of Ally’s new customers, including 60% of all new customers in Q4 2019.

Competition for the throne in the Queen City

Ally has 1,800 employees in Charlotte, it’s second-largest hub after its headquarters in Detroit, yet it pails in comparison to some of the other major financial companies with roots in the Queen City. Bank of America, for example, has 16,000 local employees and owns the naming rights for the stadium in which the Charlotte MLS franchise will play.

However, standing in the shadows of Bank of America or Wells Fargo (MLS partner with a heavy presence in the city) doesn’t phase them. Why? From a soccer stand point, Ally’s logo across the Charlotte MLS jersey will feature prominently on television, via digital mediums, and on field signage and resonate most with their core audience. There’s also reportedly very little crossover between NFL and MLS season ticket holders – another great sign for Ally.

A history of soccer support

Support of soccer is not something new for Ally, in fact. The online bank sponsored the International Champions Cup the previous four years and has done everything from video ads featuring the legendary Andres Cantor to experiential activations at stadiums.



Ally has used current players and influencers like Andre Blake and Indi Cowie for a digital scavenger hunts in certain ICC markets. On site, Ally’s activation has featured two massive goalkeeper gloves for a photo experience. Interested consumers could enter to win $500 by snapping a picture and sharing on social media. The money could go toward anything they’re saving for, allowing them to #OwnTheSave.

Categories: Major League Soccer, Sponsorship