Major League Soccer sidelines will soon feature BodyArmor sports drink after the two sides reached terms on a multi-year partnership.
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The deal establishes BodyArmor as MLS’ official sports drink starting in 2020 and grants the brand exclusive rights for displays and player use at games, team practices and locker rooms. The company’s logo will be displayed on cups, squirt bottles and towels, and the brand will also work together on content campaigns featuring MLS stars and BodyArmor athlete endorsers.
While the partnership formally begins in January, the Leagues Cup, a joint competition between the MLS and Mexico’s top-tier Liga MX, will feature BodyArmor at its championship game on Wednesday. The league’s deal with its current sports drink sponsor, AdvoCare, expires this year.
"BodyArmor is America’s new leader in sports hydration and they are a great fit for Major League Soccer – the League for a new North America," MLS senior vice president of business development Carter Ladd said in a statement. “BodyArmor believes in the future of MLS and is committed to joining us in our ongoing efforts to elevate soccer’s popularity to even higher levels in North America. BodyArmor’s rise and momentum mirrors that of MLS, and we are excited to kick off the partnership at the Leagues Cup final and look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
While the deal’s financial terms were not disclosed, a BodyArmor representative said the partnership was the largest of its kind in company history in terms of overall value. BodyArmor also has an exclusive rights deal in place with Ultimate Fighting Championship. A sub-license deal to sponsor NCAA championship events ended earlier this year, Sports Business Journal reported.
The deal was announced amid a period of growth for MLS, which announced last month that it would launch its 28th franchise in St. Louis. A local ownership group paid a $200 million expansion fee for the right to establish a team.
MLS has a separate sponsorship deal in place with Coca-Cola, which acquired a significant minority stake in BodyArmor in August 2018.
BodyArmor directly competes with longtime sports drink industry giant Gatorade. Founded by entrepreneur Mike Repole, BodyArmor projects that its retail sales will surpass $700 million by the end of 2019.
“Given the impressive growth that BodyArmor has seen recently, it’s an exciting time for the brand to team up with Major League Soccer,” BodyArmor vice president of marketing Michael Fedele said in a statement. “A partnership with Major League Soccer – one of the most engaging and fastest-growing professional sports leagues – creates a tremendous opportunity for BodyArmor to play a vital role in the hydration needs of some of the best athletes in the world.”