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Volume 23 No. 8
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Rolling with soccer: Continental Tire renews with MLS, adds U.S. Soccer Federation sponsorship

Continental Tire has renewed its sponsorship of MLS and has added a partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Terms of the multiyear deals — which were secured by Soccer United Marketing, MLS’s marketing arm — were not disclosed, but according to an industry insider, the agreements will pay mid-seven figures annually combined to MLS and the USSF.

“We wanted to lock up soccer in the U.S. for an extended period of time,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing for Continental Tire, which first sponsored MLS in 2010. “It’s the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., and our expectations for the World Cup in Brazil next year are very high.”

Continental Tire, which first sponsored MLS in 2010, is also a 2014 FIFA World Cup sponsor.
Germany-based Continental Tire becomes one of seven companies with deals to sponsor both the USSF and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The others are Anheuser-Busch, Visa, McDonald’s, Castrol, Yingli Solar, and Johnson & Johnson. Continental Tire has been a FIFA sponsor for the last two decades.

“They’ve been a major supporter of soccer on a global scale for years,” said David Wright, MLS and SUM senior vice president of global sponsorship. “Now Continental Tire is recognizing the strides that MLS and U.S. Soccer have made and what will be an immense buildup to World Cup.”

The new contracts between Continental Tire and SUM were negotiated without an agency. However, Continental Tire will use Indianapolis-based Acts Marketing for activation at major soccer events. The first such opportunity will be June 2, when the U.S. men’s national team hosts a friendly with Germany at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Continental Tire will have a display at the fan zone at the stadium.

The deal with the USSF covers both the men’s and women’s national teams. Besides on-site activation, assets include signage, tickets, player appearances and hospitality.

According to Roffler, Continental Tire hosted more than 2,000 retailers at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Although visa issues are expected to make travel and hospitality a bigger challenge in Brazil, Roffler said the company would still have several hundred retailers at the tournament next summer.