Sleeve Sponsorships

After a successful unveiling in some European leagues, Major League Soccer will begin allowing clubs to have sleeve sponsors.


Start Date

2020 season ( 4 year pilot program)

Primary Advantage

Represents an additional source of revenue for the league’s clubs.

Anticipated Revenue

Between $500,000 and $1 million USD per year to the clubs able to fill the new slot.

Comparison to Premier League Revenue

Manchester United’s deal with Kohler is worth as much as UK£20 million ($26m USD) a season.

Arsenal have a £10 million-a-year ($13m USD) sleeve sponsorship deal with ‘Visit Rwanda’ as the club’s official tourism partner.

Regulations

In addition to the sponsor on the front of a kit (jersey), clubs will be able to place a second sponsor on the left sleeve of the game kit.

The size of the sponsored sleeve patch will replace and be roughly the same size as the existing MLS logo on the right kit sleeve, which is roughly 2.5 by 2.5 inches. (6.35 x 6.35 cm).

Sleeve Sponsorship available only to those clubs that have already secured a primary kit sponsor.

What They Said

“This is an indication of a pretty robust sponsorship market,” said Gary Stevenson, president and managing director of MLS Business Ventures. “We wouldn’t do this if we hadn’t seen significant growth.”

Global Alignment

Selling sleeve patches aligns MLS with prominent soccer leagues across the world, such as La Liga Santander and the English Premier League, where teams have both a main shirt sponsor and a second logo on the sleeve.

In the case of MLS, there are some obvious restrictions in specific categories, and to protect current league partners. Nike Inc., for example, can’t buy space on the Adidas AG-made kits.

Other U.S. leagues sell ad space on jerseys or have considered doing so. The NBA allows teams to sell patches on the shoulder of their uniforms, and the WNBA has jersey partners front and center. Some NFL teams have patches on their practice jerseys, MLB teams wear patches during overseas games, and the NHL has studied allowing ads on jerseys.

MLS Teams With Sleeve Sponsors

LAFC are the first MLS team to sell the 2.5-by-2.5 inch inventory since the league announced the approval of sponsored sleeve patch sales in October last year. Only teams with a primary shirt sponsor can take advantage of MLS’s new initiative, which is a multi-year pilot programme.