Major League Soccer sets date for shirt sleeve sponsorships

Major League Soccer has confirmed that its teams will be allowed to sell shirt sleeve sponsorships from 2020.

The 2.5-by-2.5-inch square advertising space will be sold to corporate partners under a four-year pilot programme, replacing the MLS logo from the right sleeve.

“The sleeve patch is a premium opportunity for brands to be connected with our League and clubs in mutually beneficial ways,” said Gary Stevenson, president and managing director, MLS Business Ventures.

“As our League continues to expand, and with more fans in the US and Canada viewing our matches, attending our games, and engaging on social media, the visibility of the sleeve patches will be substantial.”

MLS has 23 teams, with a franchise in Cincinnati set to join the league in 2019 and franchises in Miami and Nashville in 2020. Commissioner Don Garber has said further expansion will follow.

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The partnership is understood to be a three-season deal, from 2019-20 to 2021-22, and builds on AXA’s existing Global Partner agreement with Liverpool.

The deal is the largest ever sponsorship investment in UK women’s sport and comes less than a year after the league went fully professional in September 2018.

Under the five-year global deal, Oppo will become the first Official Smartphone Partner of The Championships, Wimbledon, as the event is officially known.

US sportswear brand Nike is paying about $7.5m (€6.7m) per year to sponsor China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL), according to industry sources.