MLS is kicking off its 28th season with 33 sponsors at the league level, including 10 that have joined in the past year, according to Sports Business Journal.
Winmo Advance tracks brands investing in sports marketing partnerships, and we’ve put together a list of MLS Sponsors planning campaigns in Q2, along with MLS team relationships and key agency partners.
Click the link above to download Winmo’s list of 20 (of 60) MLS sponsorship spenders planning in Q2 2023. And keep reading for detailed insider tips on three of these spenders from our WinmoEdge team.
1) RE/MAX INTERNATIONAL
RE/MAX INTERNATIONAL, which sponsors the Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2023, according to Winmo Sports Sponsorship intel, has launched a campaign, “The Right Agent Can Lead the Way,” supported by three broadcast spots and includes digital and social ads. The brand worked with creative shop Camp+King on the ads.
- Sponsorship: Key DMAs for RE/MAX include New York, Pittsburgh, Seattle/Tacoma, Houston, and Los Angeles, according to Winmo Pro.
- Ad Sellers: RE/MAX primarily targets Gen-X and millennial audiences and has been aggressively ramping up digital spend while decreasing national TV spend. The company also invests in OOH, print, radio, and local broadcast, per Winmo. Get in touch now to offer additional campaign ad space.
- Agency and martech readers: In addition to creative, RE/MAX works with Camp+King for digital and social work, media AOR, Basis Global Technologies and The Tombras Group for media buying & planning responsibilities. Readers should contact RE/MAX’s’ DMs to see if the company needs any more assistance.
2) AB InBev launches Cutwater rebrand and a campaign
AB InBev, whose MLS Sponsorship activations include LEDs for Sporting Kansas City is looking to combat dropping beer sales nationwide with a ready-to-drink cocktail brand, Cutwater. The company recently launched a national rebranded campaign complete with new innovations, visual brand design, and packaging. Made by AKQA, “Open The Bar” launched across social channels (Meta, Pinterest, and Twitter), audio, connected TV (CTV), premium digital platforms (such as Hulu, YouTube, and Vevo), and contextual digital (such as Spotify and the Bleacher Report) and will continue rolling out throughout Spring 2023.
- Sponsorship Sellers: In addition to being an MLS Sponsor of Sporting Kansas City, AB InBev announced plans last year to put its name inside St. Louis City SC’s stadium. The company works with Wasserman Group for experiential activations for select brands including Michelob Ultra. This year, its involvement as an MLS Sponsor comes on the heels of a controversial World Cup in which Qatar limited participation of the brand as part of a zero-alcohol policy, despite its $75 million sponsorship investment and 36-year history with the event.
- Sellers: AB InBev primarily targets males, higher household-income (HHI) consumers from 25-54, millennials and Gen-X audiences. The company has recently started to allocate a much smaller percentage of its budget towards digital than TV. If you haven’t yet done so, reach out to be top-of-mind to the brands DMs.
- Agency and martech readers: The company has appointed several Cutwater-specific DMs within the last 6 months, but AB InBev is still vulnerable to review, and it may seek additional brand-specific agency partners. As you may know, it’s not shy of utilizing sports sponsorships and experiential events. The company could decide to review its current agency relationships.
3) Acura sponsors TopGolf
Acura, which sponsors the Columbus Crew in 2023, according to Winmo Sports Sponsorship intel, and its subsidiary brand, Honda, recently entered a multi-year deal with TopGolf. The deal includes sweepstakes, on-site vehicle displays, and other marketing activations. This makes the two brands the “Official Automotive Partners” and “Official Vehicles” of Topgolf.
Per Vivvix, Acura has spent ~$25.1m on national TV ads YTD, a 57% increase from ~$16m spent in this channel during the same time period last year, and has slightly been decreasing its investment towards digital ads.
- Sponsorship: Key DMAs for Acura include New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco, according to Winmo Pro.
- Sellers: The brand also utilizes OOH, print, and local broadcast and sponsors top podcasts such as Felger & Massarotti, Halford & Brough in the Morning, and The Morning After STL. The brand is looking to focus more funds on attracting younger audiences.
- Agency and martech readers: The company will likely continue increasing ad spend while it forms additional sponsorships/partnerships. Get in touch if you can help Acura reach its younger consumers and/or provide sponsorship assistance.