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Major League Soccer, U.S. Soccer Partner with IMG to Market Media Rights Until 2022

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER, U.S. SOCCER PARTNER WITH IMG TO MARKET MEDIA RIGHTS UNTIL 2022
 
LONDON & NEW YORK (October 22, 2014) - Major League Soccer (MLS) and U.S. Soccer have partnered with IMG, a global leader in sport and entertainment, to market and distribute global media rights for the two soccer organizations for the next eight years.
 
The long-term agreement, from 2015-2022, includes MLS and U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team matches played on American soil; as well as qualifying games for two World Cup cycles. It excludes media rights within the U.S. and Canada.
IMG will market the rights across all platforms including digital and gaming.
 
The deal was completed between IMG and Soccer United Marketing (SUM), which represents MLS and U.S. Soccer’s commercial rights.
 
"As Major League Soccer approaches its 20th season, the worldwide interest in the league is at an all-time high and growing dramatically,” said Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director, MLS Business Ventures. “With two new expansion clubs in New York and Orlando, global stars like David Villa, Frank Lampard and Kaka set to join the league, and players representing almost 60 countries, 2015 will be an exciting year for MLS. IMG’s expertise and unique position in the global marketplace make them the right partner for us and together we’ll grow the league's global footprint.   
 
“We have a large number of fans who live outside the United States, and with the team’s performance in the 2014 World Cup we’ve brought in additional new fans,” said U.S. Soccer CEO/Secretary General Dan Flynn. “It is important for us to provide them with access to our matches. We are excited to be working with IMG to ensure we are connecting with our fans across the world in the coming years.”
 
Ioris Francini, President of IMG Events and Media, said: “Football in the U.S. is very much on an upward curve following the U.S. Men’s National Team’s excellent showing in the World Cup in Brazil and the continued expansion and development of MLS.
 
"MLS is experiencing vast growth in attendance, investment, stadia infrastructure, TV audience and domestic and international player transfers. This is unlike any other league today.
 
“Over 20 players were called up for their national teams in the World Cup and more and more top players from European clubs are making the move across the Atlantic. We see great potential for the growth of coverage and awareness of both MLS and the U.S. National Teams."
 
Currently the MLS regular season runs from March to October with 19 teams – 16 from the U.S. and three from Canada – taking part in the Eastern and Western Conferences. The team with the best record is awarded the Supporters’ Shield. The top ten teams compete in the post-season MLS Cup Playoffs in November, culminating in the championship game, MLS Cup, in December.
 
In 2015, the league will increase to 21 clubs with New York City FC and Orlando City SC joining MLS. Both teams have announced marquee signings with Chelsea’s record goal scorer Frank Lampard and Spain’s leading marksman David Villa joining NYCFC, and Brazilian Ballon’Dor winner Kaka signing for Orlando City. In 2017, Atlanta will take the number of clubs to 22.
 
MLS was founded in 1993 as part of the United States’ successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup. The first season took place in 1996 with 10 teams.
 
ENDS
About IMG
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion and media operating in more than 25 countries around the world. IMG’s businesses include Events & Media, College, Golf, Tennis, Performance and IMG Academy, Fashion, Models, Clients, Consulting, Licensing, Joint Ventures, and creative management agency Art + Commerce. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, the world’s leading entertainment and media agency. Together, the companies offer an unparalleled client roster; strategic partnerships with sponsors and brands; and marquee assets across sports, entertainment, events, music and fashion.
 
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Major League Soccer’s 19th season features 19 clubs each playing 34 regular-season matches. Those clubs include the Chicago Fire; Chivas USA; Colorado Rapids; Columbus Crew; D.C. United; FC Dallas; Houston Dynamo; Montreal Impact; New York Red Bulls; New England Revolution; Philadelphia Union; Portland Timbers; Real Salt Lake; San Jose Earthquakes; Seattle Sounders FC; 2013 MLS Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City; Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Expansion teams New York City FC and Orlando City Soccer Club will begin play in 2015. For more information about MLS, log on to the league’s official website at www.MLSsoccer.com.
 
About U.S. Soccer
Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer is the non-for-profit, governing body of soccer in the United States and has helped chart the course for the game for more than 100 years. During this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been clear and simple: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport’s development and growth in the United States during the past 25 years has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer’s National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage and, with the assistance of its members, the fan support and participation in the game continues to reach new heights. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.
 
About Soccer United Marketing (SUM)
Founded in 2002, Soccer United Marketing (SUM) is the preeminent soccer business company in North America. SUM holds the exclusive rights to the most important soccer properties in the region, including: all commercial rights to Major League Soccer; the United States Soccer Federation; promotional and marketing rights to Mexican National Team games played in the United States, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup™. 
 
In 2009, SUM announced the creation of the MLS Digital Properties, the only soccer advertising network of its kind, covering all facets of the sport in the U.S., and which allows advertisers to reach millions of soccer fans via online advertising and sponsorships campaigns. These global properties are represented by SUM’s slogan: One Sport. One Company.™ For more information, please visit www.SUMworld.com.
 
Media contacts:
 
IMG
Gary Double
Vice President, Corporate Communications, EMEA
+447768825144
MLS
Marisabel Muñoz
Vice President, Communications, MLS
+1-212-450-1262