North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) has extended its long-standing partnership deal with major sportswear brand Adidas until 2030.
The long-term renewal is worth $830 million, according to Sportico, which represents a record investment in US soccer for the brand. The previous agreement was valued at $700 million.
The existing contract between the two parties was not due to expire until the end of the 2024 season.
Under the six-year extension, Adidas will continue as the official supplier for the league, its clubs, and youth academies and provide apparel and footwear.
Adidas will continue outfitting MLS clubs with all jerseys, footwear, training gear, and sideline apparel, and will also provide the official match ball for all MLS properties – including the MLS NEXT Pro affiliate league and MLS NEXT youth competition.
The new agreement features additional investment in youth development and community activation.
The partnership will also see Adidas “bolster key development efforts” with MLS NEXT Pro and MLS NEXT. The brand will serve as the presenting partner of the MLS NEXT Golden Ball (MVP) and MLS NEXT Best XI.
Adidas has been a partner of MLS since its inception in 1996.
The extended deal is another lucrative contract secured by the league before the new season as it prepares to begin its 10-year, $2.5 billion global media rights partnership with tech giant Apple.
Don Garber, MLS Commissioner, said: "Adidas has been helping to drive the popularity of MLS and the sport of soccer in North America for generations and we look forward to working closely with them to accelerate our growth leading into and following the 2026 FIFA World Cup."
Bjørn Gulden, Adidas chief executive, added: "It is incredible to see the growth and success of the league and soccer in North America and the work that has been done.
"Soccer is an important part of our history and who we are at Adidas. We are committed to helping grow the game and could not be more excited as we approach the 2026 World Cup hosted by the US, Canada, and Mexico."
The renewed deal was announced ahead of the 28th MLS season which begins on Saturday (February 25).
Meanwhile, MLS has announced a new playoff format and expansion for the upcoming season.
The MLS Cup Playoffs will be expanded to 18 teams with the introduction of a play-in round between the eighth and ninth-place teams in each conference.
The round will only be one game with the winner facing the top seed in the conference.
The first round of the playoffs will now be a best-of-three series, with the higher seed to host the first and third game (if needed) and the lower seed hosting the second game.
The winners will advance to the conference semi-final which goes back to a single-game format. The higher seed will host those matches.
The play-in games will be played on October 25 and 26 before the opening round of the playoffs begins on October 28. The MLS Cup final will be held on December 9.
MLS has experimented with a number of different formats in recent years, including two-legged ties and single-elimination.
Since 2019, the league has used the single-elimination format but has now reintroduced the old three-game series in an effort to create more matches of consequence.
In other MLS developments, Garber said he hopes to announce the league’s 30th expansion team by the end of the year.
The commissioner announced that Las Vegas and San Diego are the most likely candidates for a new outfit.
With St. Louis City SC starting this season, 2023 will mark the seventh straight year the league has grown, adding nine new teams since 2019.
Garber added that he is open to the possibility of expanding past 30 sides in the coming years.
He said: “That 30th team will come at some point soon. Hopefully for media people … we would like to get that announced by the end of the year.
“Never thought we’d be at 28, never thought we’d be at 29, we say we’re going to stop at 30 but the other major leagues are larger than that. I don’t ever say never. In Major League Soccer, there are many other markets that are opportunities for us.”
On possible cities, he added: “I think San Diego and Las Vegas are the most likely opportunities for 30. But we don’t have a team in Phoenix, we don’t have a team in Sacramento, we don’t have a team in Detroit; all big markets in our country.
“You never know. Tampa is another big city. Soccer is exploding professionally everywhere on the professional side and the men’s and women’s side.”
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