Retail Giant Target To Sponsor Major League Soccer, Minnesota United FC – Forbes
Major League Soccer’s 2017 season doesn’t kick off until March, but the league has already been plenty busy. Last week the league revealed its 2017 schedule, and on Tuesday it wrapped up this year’s SuperDraft. Now the league and one of its new teams both have scored a major corporate partner: Target.
The retail giant joins MLS as a league sponsor on a new multi-year deal. As with the league’s other corporate partners, Target will receive ad time on national broadcasts, in-stadium advertising and opportunities for MLS player appearances. It’s unclear what the exact terms of the deal are, but another recent MLS partner, Heineken, has a five-year, $50 million agreement with the league.
And under a separate arrangement, Target will also partner with Minnesota United FC for its MLS debut season and beyond. Target will be the team’s jersey sponsor and plans to put the company’s bullseye logo on the front of Minnesota United’s jerseys. Financial terms were not immediately available, though MLS jersey deals are typically valued between $2 million and $5 million per year.
The jersey deal should come as little surprise, as the Minneapolis-based company has long been a major player in the local sports scene. Target has had the naming rights to the Target Center, home of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx, since the arena opened in 1990, making it the longest-running naming rights partnership in American pro sports. As of 2011 those rights reportedly cost an average $1.5 million per year over the life of the deal. The company has also had the naming rights to the Twins’ Target Field since it opened in 2008 thanks to a 25-year agreement that at the time was estimated to be worth between $4 million and $6 million per year.
These new soccer sponsorships seem to mark a new direction for Target’s sports spending, especially as the brand has recently begun to curtail its autosports partnerships. Last year the brand left IndyCar after more than 25 years in the sport, and this year it will be reducing its historically strong Nascar involvement.
And it appears that the brand’s move to soccer will reach well beyond Minnesota. As part of today’s news, Target will also be announcing a financial commitment to US Youth Soccer, becoming an official partner as well as the presenting sponsor of a multi-city recreational tournament, as well as a $75,000 grant to the U.S. Soccer Foundation to support its after-school Soccer for Success program.
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