EAST HANOVER, N.J., Oct. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fans throughout North America are hungrier than ever for soccer, and now several of the world's leading snack brands are getting into the game like never before. Mondelez International, the makers of OREO, RITZ, TRIDENT and SOUR PATCH KIDS, is making a major play with soccer to excite and engage consumers through a series of wide-ranging deals with several of the sport's top teams, organizations and players.
Today, the snack company announced a series of multi-year sponsorships that will establish its leading brands' place in this rapidly expanding sport and provide the basis for a fully integrated marketing campaign launching in 2014 to help kick up the growing passion for soccer in North America heading into the most anticipated stretch in the sport's history. The deals, negotiated in conjunction with CAA Sports Consulting (on behalf of Mondelez International) and Soccer United Marketing, Major League Soccer's commercial arm, represent the company's largest multi-brand program to date, and include:
- 3-year sponsorship as the Official Snacks of U.S. Soccer (Men's and Women's National Teams) as the Federation celebrates its 100th year
- 3-year sponsorship as the Official Snacks of Club Deportivo Guadalajara, a popular Mexican team commonly known as Chivas, for games played and sponsorship within the U.S.
- Individual marketing deals with three of the brightest stars in U.S. soccer today: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC) and Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
"This is so much more than a business deal – it's the start of a movement to help our great brands connect soccer, community and snacking in a way that makes consumers stand up and cheer," said Stephen Chriss, Senior Director, North America Consumer Engagement and Marketing Services at Mondelez International. "We're so excited to have the opportunity to partner with these great athletes and organizations just as U.S. love for the sport is about to reach a fever pitch."
Uniting Snacks, Soccer and Community
The designation of Official Snacks of U.S. Soccer and Chivas extends to the cookie, candy, cracker and gum categories and will be inclusive of a series of globally-recognized brands operated by Mondelez International, including: OREO, CHIPS AHOY, RITZ, WHEAT THINS, HONEY MAID, NEWTONS, BELVITA, TRIDENT, DENTYNE, STRIDE and SOUR PATCH KIDS, among others.
The deals with U.S. Soccer and Chivas will include all forms of media, retail, shopper marketing, consumer promotions, grassroots, PR and social media. The sponsorships also include rights to align with coaches, legends of the game and the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
"We are looking forward to our new partnership with Mondelez as the Official Snacks of U.S. Soccer," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "With a large number of name brand products, we are excited to work with Mondelez to expand our reach to consumers at the international, national and grassroots level."
The company also plans to leverage its global partnership with social media giant Twitter to help provide valuable consumer insights and engage with fans in real-time in North America – and globally.
"Soccer is truly the world's sport, which is a natural fit for these iconic brands," said Chriss. "And the connection to soccer will help reinforce in real-time our role in supporting or fueling the interests of all our consumers and retail partners."
A Multicultural Movement
The Hispanic community's passion for soccer is no secret, and the snack company's U.S. soccer partnerships – especially with Mexican Club Chivas and athletes like Omar Gonzalez – offer myriad opportunities to connect with a broad range of multicultural consumers through breakthrough activations and outreach specifically tailored to reflect the community's love for soccer.
"Hispanic consumers and soccer fans are looking for companies to make an authentic connection to the sport they love," said David Wright, Senior Vice President of Global Sponsorship at Soccer United Marketing. "Mondelez is a great fit and there isn't a better time to be involved in the sport of soccer than right now."
"Growing up with Mexican parents, I learned early on that soccer isn't just a game but something that inspires cultural pride and community," said Gonzalez, who holds dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico and plays for the U.S. Men's National Team. "I'm excited to partner with brands like OREO, RITZ, TRIDENT and SOUR PATCH KIDS that understand the passion that this sport ignites, not only here and in Mexico, but around the world."
Stars Connect to Brands Authentically
By signing icons like Clint Dempsey (arguably the biggest name in U.S. men's soccer today), Alex Morgan (a standout performer of the world-champion U.S. Women's National Team) and emerging star Gonzalez, Mondelez International instantly has created a roster of some of the biggest names in soccer. But what really makes these deals stand out is the authentic connection between the athletes and brands.
"They're now the Official Snacks of U.S. Soccer – but to me these snacks have always been a part of the soccer experience," said Morgan. "It's important to me to partner with brands who not only are committed to the sport, but who truly are, and have been, part of the soccer community."
"I'm excited to partner with the makers of these great snack brands, who like me are passionate about spreading the love for soccer to fans across North America," said Clint Dempsey, who recently returned to play professionally for Seattle Sounders FC after a stint oversees.
Right Sport, Right Time
The company's full-scale commitment to soccer comes at a time when the sport is skyrocketing in popularity. The U.S. Men's National Team has already punched its ticket to Brazil in 2014, with the U.S. Women's National Team currently seeking to qualify for Canada in 2015. Then both teams will try to return to Brazil in 2016 for the international competition in Rio de Janeiro. Not only will U.S. fans be following the journey to all three international events – they'll be watching in primetime in record numbers.
What's more, this movement toward soccer will transcend TV ratings. Interest in the sport at the grassroots level is growing by leaps and bounds. Soccer is the No. 1 participatory sport among youths (under age 9) in North America and roughly one-third of U.S. households now include kids playing soccer, according to a 2012 report by the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. In terms of popularity with millennials, soccer now ranks second behind only the NFL among all sports in the U.S, according to a recent national poll.
"Our brands like OREO, RITZ, TRIDENT and SOUR PATCH KIDS see soccer as a way to connect with consumers – moms, dads and athletes alike – in their communities," said Chriss. "With this unparalleled portfolio of assets, our brands will be perfectly positioned to help provide our snacks to consumers whether they are watching at home, cheering in person or taking the field themselves."
About Mondelez International
Mondelez International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MDLZ) is a global snacking powerhouse, with 2012 revenue of $35 billion. Creating delicious moments of joy in 165 countries, Mondelez International is a world leader in chocolate, biscuits, gum, candy, coffee and powdered beverages, with billion-dollar brands such as Cadbury, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Milk chocolate, Jacobs coffee, LU, Nabisco and Oreo biscuits, Tang powdered beverages and Trident gum. Mondelez International is a proud member of the Standard and Poor's 500, NASDAQ 100 and Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Visit www.mondelezinternational.com and www.facebook.com/mondelezinternational.
About U.S. Soccer: Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer is the non-for-profit, governing body of soccer in the United States and has helped chart the course for the game for 100 years. During this time, the Federation's mission statement has been clear and simple: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport's development and growth in the United States during the past 25 years has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer's National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage and, with the assistance of its members, the fan support and participation in the game continues to reach new heights. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.
About Soccer United Marketing Founded in 2002, Soccer United Marketing (SUM) is the preeminent soccer business company in North America. SUM holds the exclusive rights to the most important soccer properties in the region, including: all commercial rights to Major League Soccer; the United States Soccer Federation; promotional and marketing rights to Mexican National Team games played in the United States, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup™. SUM also manages promotional and marketing rights in the United States for Mexico's most popular sports team, Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Chivas).
In 2009, SUM announced the creation of the MLS Digital Properties, the only soccer advertising network of its kind, covering all facets of the sport in the U.S., and which allows advertisers to reach millions of soccer fans via online advertising and sponsorships campaigns. These global properties are represented by SUM's slogan: One Sport. One Company.™ For more information, please visit www.SUMworld.com.
SOURCE Mondelez International