By Barry Janoff
February 22, 2016: Thanks to a new alliance with TAG Heuer, some soccer players will be able to use their "hands" on the soccer pitch.
With its 2016 season approaching, Major League Soccer has signed a long-term partnership naming the luxury sports watchmaker the official watch and official timekeeper of the league.
In addition, TAG Heuer becomes the official timekeeper for U.S. Soccer.
TAG Heuer also unveiled a deal with Alex Morgan, forward for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, which last week qualified to compete in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
TAG Heuer spokespersons also include Tom Brady, Cristiano Ronaldo, Maria Sharapova, model Cara Delevingne, actor Chris Hemsworth and the Estate of Steve McQueen.
Financial terms of the pacts were not released.
“Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the United States, and it is also most popular amongst the youth demographic, a generation we aim to connect with,” Kilian Muller, president for TAG Heuer North America, said in a statement.
Official partners for MLS, whose season begins March 6, include adidas, Advocare, Allstate, AT&T, Audi, Chipotle, Coca-Cola, Continental, Draft Kings, EA Sports, Etihad, Heineken, The Home Depot, Jeld-Wen, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft Heinz, Makita, Microsoft, Mondeléz (Chips Ahoy!, Ritz, Trident) and Wells Fargo.
"We think this partnership can be a catalyst for innovating how timekeeping works in global football. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
TAG Heuer already has a partnership with Bundesliga, the Professional Association Football League of Germany.
“We are excited to welcome TAG Heuer to the North American soccer family,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “This is a premium, world-class brand that has already aligned with other top leagues around the world. We think this partnership can be a catalyst for innovating how timekeeping works in global football. We look forward to working with them for many years to come.”
The partnership also includes the Professional Referee Organization, which is responsible for maintaining the referee program in pro leagues in the U.S. and Canada.During MLS games, PRO referees will wear a TAG Heuer Connected Watch, a newly launched smart watch from the company.
All MLS referees will have the TAG Heuer logo on their uniform.
In MLS stadiums, TAG Heuer will provide and be visible on the substitution board used on the sidelines.
Multi-media marketing also includes Internet, social media and air time during MLS broadcasts.
“TAG Heuer has a long-standing connection to sports and an impressive history of creating precision watches used by high-level athletes across the globe,” said US Soccer president Sunil Gulati. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to work closely with one of the most innovative luxury brands in the world.”
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