NEW YORK Volkswagen of America said it has entered into a five-year agreement with professional soccer team D.C. United. The deal provides the automaker with sponsorship rights to club jerseys and in-stadium marketing.
The deal coincides with a partnership announced today between Major League Soccer and Volkswagen that makes the car company the league's official automotive sponsor, providing the carmaker with MLS and collective team marks, logos and marketing assets at events including the Pepsi MLS All-Star Game and the MLS Cup, the league's championship game.
"With Volkswagen's roots already embedded in the sport, this is a partnership that makes sense at both the club and league levels," Doug Quinn, president, Soccer United Marketing, said in a statement.
Under the automaker's partnership with D.C. United, the team will debut new uniforms featuring the Volkswagen logo, the first corporate insignia to adorn team jerseys, during a nationally televised game with the Chicago Fire on Thursday night, the automaker said.
Traditionally, the space on team jerseys is considered the most valuable inventory a soccer club has to offer and is reserved for a crest that supports the team, sharing in the organizational goals and ideals, per D.C. United.
"We believe that the D.C. United brand stands for something significant and the brand on the front of our jersey has to be compatible with our vision," Victor McFarlane, D.C. United co-managing partner, said in a press statement. "Volkswagen fulfilled and exceeded our wishes. They are a company committed to excellence and customer service with an international reputation for both."
For Volkswagen, the partnership provides an opportunity to connect directly with soccer aficionados via fan initiatives such as the Volkswagen Garage, an interactive area that will serve as a hospitality area and vehicle showroom with space for 1,000 visitors. The space will be located behind the north goal at RFK Stadium, home field for D.C United.
The Garage also gives fans a brand experience featuring soccer-based car games, FIFA Xbox 360 stations, live T-shirt screen printing, branded merchandise, hammocks and Adirondack chairs for relaxing, VW said.
The automaker also will serve as a sponsor of D.C. United's Soccer Celebration event.
"We wanted to find opportunities to support the local community and D.C. United was an obvious choice," saID Stefan Jacoby, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "D.C. United is a great soccer team, committed to success both on and off the pitch. The team philosophy, mission and fans closely mirror our own corporate philosophy and customer base."