Major League Soccer has confirmed a number of changes to its commercial sponsorship guidelines, allowing its 24 clubs to secure jersey and stadium naming rights partnerships with sports betting organisations.
Also permitting liquor companies to enter similar deals, the MLS lauds becoming “the first major pro sports league in US and Canadian team sports” to embrace such highly visible agreements, ahead of its National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League counterparts.
The new guidelines also ensure that youth-sized replica jerseys will not feature these category sponsors and no MLS players under the age of 21 can be included in ads for spirits.
Sports betting and spirits companies can now partner with clubs in a number of ways, including stadium naming-rights, stadium signage, field-board advertising, ad spots and custom programming.
Furthermore, sports wagering organisations can also set up in private lounges at MLS stadiums or on property adjacent to the stadium.
“We want to be viewed as a progressive league, and provide our clubs with an appropriate level of flexibility,” Carter Ladd, the league’s senior vice president of business development, told Fortune. “We don’t want to be restrictive; we want to enable them in a positive way, and that’s why we’re taking this action… We strongly believe this is going to help drive new revenues.”
Earlier this year the MLS released details of its first official sports betting partnership, as MGM Resorts International deepens its footprint amongst US sports leagues, following previously announced link-ups alongside the NBA and MLB.
Lauded as a historic multi-year strategic partnership, MGM Resorts became the league’s first official gaming partner, with the Roar Digital joint venture, undertaken alongside GVC Holdings, named exclusive official sports betting partner of the MLS.
Under the terms of the agreement, MGM and Roar gained access to enhanced MLS data for fans and sports betting customers, television-visible signage for all 100+ nationally broadcast games, unique MLS-themed promotions and sweepstakes.