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SBJ/December 10 - 16, 2001/Marketingsponsorship
New York Life wont exercise 2-year option as MLS sponsor
Published December 10, 2001
Major League Soccer is losing a top sponsor, New York Life Insurance, amid a tough market for company renewals.
The battered insurance firm, which is facing between $50 million and $75 million in claim payments from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, won't exercise a two-year option with the league, sources say. The deal was worth about $2.5 million annually. New York Life's departure leaves MLS with eight official sponsors, the premier sponsorship category offered by the league.
MLS said negotiations with New York Life are continuing. "They've had a very challenging year and their business has been impacted," said Tom Haidinger, MLS vice president of corporate sponsorships. "We're still discussing their future with us."
New York Life signed the deal in 2000 for two years with a two-year option. The company has played a prominent role in MLS. Its name is attached to the league's Humanitarian Award, and it sponsors the Dribble, Pass & Kick program.
While losing one sponsor, MLS also signed its biggest-ever official supplier deal. Bally Total Fitness signed a seven-figure agreement last week that runs through the 2004 season. MLS teams can develop ticket and membership cross-promotions with the fitness centers, and Bally gets use of MLS and team marks, among other rights.