Audi, along with other major global brands such as Heineken, seems to believe that the Brazil 2014 World Cup was the tipping point for North American football/soccer and is leveraging the US soccer craze with a new Major League Soccer (MLS) partnership with a new campaign led by the first in a series of TV spots called ‘The Game’.
The Game aims to highlight the thrills and emotions of the MLS and celebrate Audi’s passion for and commitment to every aspect of the sport:
This commercial will evolve through the season – adding key on-field moments and fan footage shot in stadiums around the MLS.
It is the first of a series of MLS-themed spots that will air during nationally televised games on ESPN, FOX and the Univision Networks through the season (including during the AT&T MLS All-Star Game, the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup itself).
The objective of the wider MLS campaign is to enhance the fan experience and will include other exciting activations – with a focus on fan and brand experiences.
‘Audi is an elite brand that is committed to helping the sport of soccer grow in North America and we look forward to partnering with them for many years to come. We are excited to welcome Audi to the MLS family,’ said MLS Business Venture President Gary Stevenson.
‘Audi’s partnership with MLS parallels the aggressive, challenger spirit of the two brands,” explains Audi USA marketing director Loren Angelo when discussing the synergies between the sponsor and the property.
‘Audi remains committed to soccer and raising the profile of the game in the United States. Last year the league’s attendance hit an all-time high. As a major supporter of the sport globally, we’re looking forward to cultivating the enthusiasm of soccer stateside and driving participation of the sport in a new way.’
Audi and Major League Soccer recently signed a multi-year partnership deal that kicks off with the new 2015 MLS season and sees the German car brand become the Official Automotive Partner of MLS.
As part of the sponsorship, Audi also becomes the presenting sponsor of the MLS Cup Playoffs, as well as gaining a package that includes field level signage (fieldboards) during nationally televised MLS broadcasts
Audi is using its MLS partnership and league intellectual property to establish what it describes as ‘an authentic connection with soccer fans across North America’.
Audi also currently has club partnerships with Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers FC through local dealerships and is reported to be looking to sign additional MLS club deals in the near future.
The MLS tie-up is not the car marquee’s first US soccer-related deal.
Summer 2014 saw Audi build a huge real-time FIFA World Cup scoreboard in Brooklyn, New York that was illuminated by the headlights from a fleet of 28 Audi A8 sedans.
July last year also saw Audi host its first-ever US ‘Audi Football Summit (see press release).
These US soccer/football partnership further boost the brand’s global relationship with the sport that includes partnerships with football club giants such as Real Madrid and FC Bayern Munich.
Audi’s MLS relationship is a vignette of the next major expansion phase of the League’s evolution
The 2015 season sees the MLS debut a new crest (logo) and a new marketing campaign.
After spectacularly successful audience numbers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup many believe that the tipping point for US soccer has been reached and the growth in fan numbers, TV audiences and tickets sales is set to increase in the coming years.
Could this lead to some sponsors moving away from classic US sports properties – such as baseball – to align themselves with the more-millennial-friendly soccer?
After all, the MLS boasts the highest percentage of millennial audience of any major US sport.
Thus brands, like Audi and Heineken, looking to hold conversations with the next generation of millennial buyers see the MLS as an ideal fit.
The MLS itself certainly thinks so as it kicks off its 20th season with two new expansion clubs – New York FC and Orlando City FC – bringing its total to 20
With further club expansions planned for the next couple of seasons – including Atlanta and LA in 2017 and two further clubs the following season (possibly in Miami, Minnesota, Scarmento, St Louis, or San Antonio).
Certainly new star players have joined this season (most notably Brazilian super star Kaka), while in addition to new heavyweight, global brand sponsors like Audi and Heineken, the MLS also brings new 2015 season media partners into the fold in the form of ESPN, Fox and Univision on board.
Audi MLS Web Hub
Audi USA YouTube
Audi USA Website
Audi USA Newsroom
MLS Soccer Website