Adidas, the German sports equipment maker, has agreed with Major League Soccer (MLS) of the U.S. to remain the official athletic sponsor and licensed product supplier to the league through 2018, Sports Business Journal reported. The new four year-deal, which the magazine valued at $200 million, supplants a previous 10-year, $150 million sponsorship deal that Adidas signed with MLS in 2004.
The deal is seen as another sign of MLS's viability. Since the original deal with Adidas was signed, the league has added seven franchises, built seven stadiums designed for soccer, and increased annual attendance by 24% to more than 3.6 million spectators in the U.S. and Canada.
Moreover, Sports Business Journal reported that since 2005, MLS merchandise sales increased more than 600% annually, to $300 million, helped by the signings to MLS teams in Los Angeles and New Jersey of David Beckham of England and Thierry Henry of France.
Sports in general and soccer in particular are big business around the world. View a recent story about British bank Barclays' sponsorship of the English Premier League and golfing events, and golfers.