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Volume 20 No. 42
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Sponsors align with U.S., Mexican soccer teams

Soccer United Marketing has finalized deals with Marriott, Century 21 and Behr Paints for U.S. and Mexican national team play leading into the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Marriott’s deal makes the hotel brand the official hotel of the U.S. Soccer Federation. Its long-term contract will pay low seven figures annually, according to industry sources. Among the elements Marriott will receive are field-level signage, intellectual property rights, digital media, hospitality and tickets. The deal takes effect Wednesday, when the U.S. men’s team plays Brazil in a friendly at FedEx Field. It covers both the U.S. men’s and women’s national clubs.

“Soccer is a truly global sport, so this was a natural for us,” said Joanna Todd, vice president of segment strategy for Marriott. “It’s a great opportunity because we want to work with best in class, and USSF is definitely that.”

Soccer United Marketing, MLS’s media and marketing business, handles commercial rights not only for MLS but also for the U.S. and Mexican national teams.

“The scope of this deal really speaks to the lifestyle of the soccer fan,” said David Wright, SUM senior vice president of global sponsorship. “We saw this with the last World Cup and all the major events: The fan base is as passionate about traveling to sites as anyone.”

Behr’s deal with the Mexican team adds to paint’s visible role in soccer.
Century 21’s deal with the federation, similarly, covers both the men’s and women’s national teams. Industry sources place the deal at the high six figures annually, with the real estate company getting player appearances, intellectual property rights, field-level signage, hospitality and tickets.

Behr Paints is sponsoring the Mexican national team, signing a one-year deal for high six figures, according to industry sources. Behr’s deal includes broadcast integration via Univision, field-level signage and on-site event access at Mexican national team games played in the United States. The club on average plays five U.S. games annually. In addition, the deal provides for visibility at Home Depot locations, where Behr is exclusively sold.

Paint has become a visible part of soccer, as referees use spray paint cans to mark the defensive line on direct kicks.

“This is a tremendous platform for our company to reach the ever-expanding Hispanic demographic,” said Scott Richards, senior vice president of marketing for Behr. “This opportunity allows us to focus both at retail and within the professional segment. It allows us, in a very authentic way, to align our brand in-game through creative broadcast integration. The referee using paint to mark the 10-yard line on a free kick: It just makes a lot of sense.”