The 2015 Major League Soccer season kicked off this week with the LA Galaxy vs. Chicago Fire game on UniMás — ushering a new brand focus for the league.
The season represents the next phase of the League's evolution. In 2015, MLS' 20th season will include a new-look crest, two new expansion clubs, new star players and new media partners — all geared to cater to the fact that the league has the highest percentage of millennial audience of any major US sport.
Notably, With MLS' fresh broadcast and media rights partnership with ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision Deportes, soccer fans throughout the country will be provided with go-to networks, changing the way fans view the game in America. For the first time in MLS history, fans will be able to enjoy a game of the week on Friday evenings on UniMás and a doubleheader every Sunday on ESPN2 and FOX Sports 1.
The news comes as MLS TV coverage continues to expand internationally, and enjoys its highest level of domestic popularity ever. This season will see Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard, all-time Spanish goal-scorer David Villa and former Real Madrid and AC Milan star Kaká join its rosters, driving yet more interest.
Also, Audi has signed on with to become the official automotive partner for the season, and it will also be the presenting sponsor of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
"Audi's partnership with MLS parallels the aggressive, challenger spirit of the two brands," said Loren Angelo, director of marketing for Audi of America. "Audi remains committed to soccer and raising the profile of the game in the United States. Last year the league's attendance hit an all-time high. As a major supporter of the sport globally, we're looking forward to cultivating the enthusiasm of soccer stateside and driving participation of the sport in a new way."
The agreement also includes a number of media extensions including field level signage (fieldboards) during nationally televised MLS broadcasts.