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Volume 20 No. 46
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League expects L.A. to increase MLS Cup’s reach, sales

Major League Soccer will see all 23 of its corporate partners activate at Sunday’s MLS Cup championship at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. The full plate of partner activation marks a step up from 2010, when 18 of 23 partners activated at the event in Toronto.

David Wright, vice president of global sponsorship for Soccer United Marketing, said the game’s presence in a major MLS market matched with the home team Galaxy playing in the game should boost the event beyond 2010 in both media reach and overall sales. A team official with the Galaxy said the event has sold out its 27,000 seats, and that the team is looking to add more seats for the game. The official declined to say how many seats the team will add.

But Wright does not expect the marketing and activation footprint in Los Angeles to surpass that of the 2011 MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena, where all 23 partners also activated at the event.

“New York was arguably the most successful special event in our history, so it’s tough to quantify,” Wright said. “I think we will be on par with that event.”

As in previous years, MLS will stretch the championship event across four days. Home Depot and the city of Carson, Calif., will begin the event activation on Thursday with a renovation project at the local 9/11 Veterans Park.

Also on Thursday, Castrol will unveil its Index Player of the Year award, which is tabulated using an algorithm that analyzes a player’s on-field motions and performance. The award is part of Castrol’s four-day footprint at the event, which includes a social media contest with FourSquare on Thursday, title sponsorship of the Media Cup game on Saturday, and a fan trading card setup on Saturday and Sunday.

AT&T, which is the title sponsor of the All-Star Game, also is activating across multiple days, and is title sponsor of a pregame concert featuring local Latin hip-hop band Ozomatli on Sunday.

Neither Castrol nor AT&T activated at the 2010 MLS Cup. Other absentees were Dick’s Sporting Goods, Allstate Insurance and NAPA Auto Parts, which is no longer a partner.
Tracy Drelich-Knauer, associate promotions and sponsorship manager at Castrol, said the brand’s American focus kept it from having a presence in Canada, even though the event marked a bookend to its inaugural season with MLS.

“It was Toronto, it was cold, it didn’t make sense for us to be there,” she said. “We are focused on business in the U.S.”

Drelich-Knauer said Castrol will have multilingual brand ambassadors handing out product literature in both English and Spanish at the event. It also will sponsor a six-on-six local tournament at the Bell Gardens sports complex in east Los Angeles.
“For us, the Home Depot Center hits a lot of key targets, especially in the Hispanic demographic,” she said.