On Wednesday, August 2nd adidas and Major League Soccer announced the extension of their long-term partnership through 2024. Marking adidas’ largest investment in soccer in North America, the six-year deal makes adidas the official supplier partner for the League, its Clubs, MLS youth academies and youth affiliated clubs. Key to the agreement is an expanded focus on youth development to drive creativity in sports for young athletes. Financial terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.
“Sport is the epicenter of our culture and, in the U.S. and Canada, soccer is the most popular sport for young people to play,” said adidas North America President Mark King. “Our partnership with MLS puts adidas at the core of sport in North America, allowing us to make a positive difference in an athlete’s game and life. Built from athlete and consumer insight, we are looking to create the future of sport and bring new and different things to the game the world has never seen before.”
As a focal point of the player performance component of the deal, adidas will outfit MLS teams and their affiliates with uniforms, footwear, training gear and sideline apparel. It is unclear as to whether athletes are mandated to wear adidas footwear. Typically, high-profile players sign individual endorsement deals with the brand of their choosing, but even for up and coming young players or those without personal sponsorship deals, it is unlikely that they will be compelled to wear adidas footwear.
“Major League Soccer has built a legacy with adidas that has been essential in the rise of our League,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “adidas has been a major collaborator with us since the inception of MLS, and we are proud that our partnership with this globally-respected brand will continue to enhance the growth of the game in North America for many more years. We will work with adidas on innovative concepts to showcase the sport and our elite athletes, and we will intensify our mission to develop top North American soccer players for generations to come.”
The new agreement emphasizes investment in young athletes, deepening both organizations’ focus on inspiring and supporting the next generation of players. adidas and MLS will drive youth development and programming to help young soccer players create and shape their future.
“Through sport, we have the power to change lives,” said King. “We believe in the power of sport and its ability to create positivity for young athletes and their world. Through our expanded youth development program, we’ll provide high-level competition and unique life experiences for athletes who want to improve their game.”
Recognized for being the fastest-growing sports league on social media, Major League Soccer will create an innovative, socially powered and localized content approach for adidas as part of the new agreement.
A multi-platform content experience, the new adidas “Creator’s Network,” will allow for enhanced, in-depth storytelling through fresh local and national content from League supporters and influencers.
adidas and Major League Soccer began their relationship at the League’s inception in 1996 with adidas partnering with the Columbus Crew, Kansas City Wiz and D.C. United. In 2004, the organizations announced an exclusive all-league partnership that put adidas on every MLS team. In 2010, adidas and Major League Soccer extended their commitment, with a new focus on advancing soccer in North America through youth development.