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MLS drives off with Audi as new season kicks off

German automotive manufacturer Audi has signed a multi-year partnership with North America’s Major League Soccer.

The partnership commenced with the start of the 2015 MLS season on Friday, as reigning champion Los Angeles Galaxy defeated Chicago Fire 2-0. Audi becomes the official automotive partner of MLS, replacing parent company Volkswagen in the role. As part of the partnership, Audi will serve as the presenting sponsor of the season-ending MLS Cup Playoffs.

Loren Angelo, director of marketing for Audi of America, said: “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.”

The agreement incorporates a number of media extensions including field level signage during nationally televised MLS broadcasts. Throughout the season, Audi will air MLS-themed television commercials during nationally-televised games on ESPN, Fox and Univision, including the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.

The deal marks Audi’s latest move into football in the US. Last summer Audi began a season-long commitment in the United States with a giant LED scoreboard illuminated by the headlights of 28 Audi A8 sedans to display the 2014 Fifa World Cup scores. In July, the brand hosted its first-ever US Audi Football Summit.

Audi currently has existing partnerships with Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers through local dealerships. The company plans to add further club deals in the near future.