Where can you find, in the same place, Angry Birds and Xbox, Valspar and Bimbo? You’re right! Soccer jerseys. MLS has officially announced their 4-year pilot program to allow clubs the opportunity to sell a 2.5 by 2.5-inch patch on the right sleeve of their jerseys. This new patch will be in lieu of the current MLS logo that resides on the sleeve and will soon expose the league to a laundry list of different brand deals.
MLS can look to The Premier League and the NBA as precedents for allowing unique branding deals on jerseys, The Premier League has implemented the same sleeve opportunities and the NBA has featured brands on the shoulder of certain jerseys. For MLS, making strides in branding deals makes sense. Not only does the deal benefit the league, but each club is also expected to make upwards of a million dollars per year from the agreements.
GumGum Sports, an agency that works to determine the potential value of sponsorship deals estimates that MLS ought to expect large gains in media value throughout the course of the agreements. Jeff Katz, the Vice President of Strategy for the agency notes,
“Overall, we predict upwards of $30 million of media value, league wide, amongst 23 teams with the potential to grow substantially as the MLS social footprint grows over time…”.
Teams will be able to choose whether or not the branded patches appear on jerseys sold to supporters, and there are certain restrictions about who the space can be sold out to. However, this move for MLS seems to be another step in the right direction.