Major League Soccer announced Monday that it has signed a “broad” partnership with Mexican Burrito chain Chipotle. In addition to partnering with MLS on the whole, the partnership also includes individual promotions and activations with 12 separate MLS clubs, individual players and programs across the country and league. Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s chief marketing and development officer explains that “this partnership with MLS will allow us to further engage consumers in a sport we have long supported through grassroots efforts.”
Probably the biggest aspect of the partnership and effort involves Chipotle being the named sponsor of MLS’ new Homegrown All-Star game which is a new feature of the AT&T MLS All-Star Week where the league’s best homegrown talent from MLS Club rosters take the field. Specific details on choosing players, who they will play and how to watch the match are set to be revealed later.
One of the more prominent programs that the burrito chain will be involved in is the Chipotle Youth Homegrown Athlete. During 10 home games of each of the 12 participating MLS clubs, Chipotle will highlight an “exceptional” athlete.
Each athlete will receive four tickets to the game, special recognition during the game, a chance to meet players and coaches, dinner at Chipotle with his/her team, and the opportunity to host a fundraiser for his/her team at their favorite Chipotle location. Chipotle and each MLS Club will also host free soccer clinics for up to 200 kids utilizing MLS players and coaches to teach soccer fundamentals.
LA Galaxy and USMNT Defender Omar Gonzalez is the first MLS spokesperson for Chipotle and will play a “vital role in the Homegrown campaign from being featured in anthem and skills videos to promoting the partnership on his social media channels.”
To kick-off the partnership, Chipotle will host a March to Soccer promotion in the 12 MLS markets to celebrate the beginning of the MLS season. Any fan who wears their local MLS team gear on the date of that team’s home opener can receive a buy-one-get-one deal. These are the participating teams and the dates of their respective opening game:
• FC Dallas: March 8
• Houston Dynamo: March 8
• LA Galaxy: March 8
• Portland Timbers: March 8
• Seattle Sounders FC: March 8
• San Jose Earthquakes: March 15
• Philadelphia Union: March 15
• Sporting Kansas City: March 15
• Colorado Rapids: March 22
• Columbus Crew: March 22
• New England Revolution: March 22
• Chicago Fire: March 23
In a truly broad partnership that involves multiple activation avenues that includes naming rights and multimedia cross-promotion through the 12 Clubs as well as individual players, this looks to be positive for both parties involved.