Major League Soccer and adidas announced an eight-year partnership Monday that will provide the soccer league with $200 million between now and 2018. It replaces the pair’s agreement that ran through 2014. The dollar amount includes apparel as well as increased investments in youth development, specifically the Generation adidas and home grown talent programs.
What does this mean for MLS? Ultimately, it’s a good thing. The money isn’t huge – consider vendors sold $3.2 billion worth of NFL-licensed merchandise in 2007 alone – but there’s a growing market for uniforms. (French star Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls jersey recently replaced David Beckham’s as the league’s bestseller and will sell 50,000 kits this year.)
What’s more interesting, perhaps, is the battle between adidas and Nike for future profits involving soccer in America. Both companies understand this is a growth market and are angling to get their fair share. While adidas shores up its relationship with MLS, Nike and the US Soccer Federation are partners… at least through 2014. After that, who knows.