Target Just Became the Largest Supporters of Soccer in the U.S.
In a surprising collaboration, Target just announced a series of charitable initiatives as it becomes an Official Partner of Major League Soccer.
“There are so many things that drew us to soccer – it’s multicultural, watched and played by families and is growing immensely in popularity,” said Rick Gomez, the newly appointed SVP of Marketing at Target. “We’ve partnered with several incredible organizations and vendors to invite soccer fans everywhere to engage with the Target brand in new ways.”
The three-year sponsorship deal, which marks Target’s largest-ever push into sports, includes:
- airtime during MLS broadcasts on Univision, FOX Sports, and ESPN
- opportunities for in-stadium experiences and player appearances
- ownership of certain major MLS platforms (to be revealed at a later date)
- on-field branding and events
- as the Official Partner of Minnesota United FC and the team’s official jersey sponsor, Target’s signature bull’s-eye logo will make a prominent appearance on the team’s jersey
“We’re excited to welcome Target to the soccer family,” said Kathy Carter, president, Soccer United Marketing, MLS’ commercial arm. “It’s great to see such a holistic approach being taken – from the professional ranks to the youth level. It’s also ideal timing as Target’s hometown club, Minnesota United FC, joins Major League Soccer this year. We look forward to working together for many years to come.”
Target will also commit to the financial support of both U.S. Youth Soccer and the U.S. Soccer Foundation. The big box chain retailer has already provided a $75,000 grant to the foundation in support of the national expansion of their Soccer for Success program, a “free after-school program that is proven to help kids establish healthy habits and develop critical life skills through caring coach-mentors and family engagement.”
After experiencing a dip in sales during the recent holiday period (like many retailers), this may just be the boost Target needs. The increasingly popular sport has affected sales for the retailer before – last year, when Target sold over 1 million soccer balls and watched soccer-related sales grow by 10 percent. According to Kevin McIntyre, Executive VP of Sales and General Manager at sports marketing firm Leverage Agency, sports marketing is often a great tool to help boost company sales, while making them more relatable to their consumer.
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