Two weeks ago we discussed MLS’ announcement that it will allow teams to partner with gambling and liquor brands as jersey partners. Fresh off the heels of that, MLS and Captain Morgan have agreed to a three-and-half year deal. The deal includes sponsorship of the MLS All-Star Game and Campeones Cup. Additionally, Captain Morgan, Diageo’s spiced rum brand, will partner with five MLS clubs: Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, D.C., and New York City.
Although financial terms were not released, the deal is expected to surpass an eight figure commitment across the terms of the partnership. Despite a decrease in U.S. rum sales (Captain Morgan sales down 9 percent in Q3 & Q4 of 2018), the company is looking to reinvigorate the brand and is turning to MLS for help.
This partnership also signifies the first time Captain Morgan will be a national sponsor of a sports league.
— Captain Morgan (@CaptainMorganUS) July 9, 2019
A young, diverse audience
For a liquor brand looking to reinvent itself and regain market share, turning to MLS represents an intriguing option. Why? MLS is ripe with a young, diverse audience. This fact is not lost on the brand. Compared to other national sports leagues, Diageo feels MLS’ audience and festive in-stadium atmosphere make it the perfect partner.
First shot at success
To kickstart their partnership, Captain Morgan will be present at this year’s All-Star Game in late-July. Beyond in-stadium signage and a TV campaign, Captain Morgan will be outside Orlando City’s Exploria Stadium doing an activation unique to the brand’s name. On a first-come, first-serve basis, fans with Morgan in their name will receive a free ticket to the game. If any fans going to the game already are lucky enough to share the name with the brand, their seats will be upgraded.