MCLEAN, Va., June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Major League Soccer (MLS) today announced that USA TODAY Sports Images has become the official photo partner of MLS and its business and marketing subsidiary, Soccer United Marketing (SUM), as part of a multi-year agreement.
The integrated partnership also calls for USA TODAY Sports Images to serve as the exclusive photo provider for all MLS clubs, MLS special events, sponsors and licensees, as well as for MLS editorial staff and properties that include MLSsoccer.com and KickTV, among others.
"Major League Soccer is one of the most dynamic sports brands in the world, and we're thrilled to partner with them," said Merrill Squires, SVP, Leagues and Properties for the USA TODAY Sports Media Group. "With its best-in-class photojournalists and platform delivery capabilities, we're certain that USA TODAY Sports Images is the perfect match to not only capture the very best of MLS game action, but to provide MLS and SUM with an unparalleled level of image distribution and client service that its growth and popularity demands."
"USA TODAY Sports Images brings a level of commitment and customer service that we are really excited about," said Maribeth Towers, SVP, MLS. "Their attention to detail in capturing the special moments that happen in our League and in our sport is evident in the quality of product that they consistently produce. There are many nuances in our sport and their knowledge, experience and focus is critical. They are experts in their field and we couldn't be happier to have such an experienced partner capturing the intensity, passion and drama of MLS and its supporters."
USA TODAY Sports Images is the largest dedicated sports photography service in North America, covering 10,000 events each year with a network of more than 300 professional photographers. In addition to the more than 100 local and national media properties within the USA TODAY Sports Media Group universe, USA TODAY Sports Images also provides images to many of the top media companies in the world, including all 15 of the top digital sports properties in the country (as per April 2013 comScore).
As part of the partnership with MLS and SUM, USA TODAY Sports Images will create a dedicated MLS Portal within its newly-designed USA TODAY Sports Images digital platform, which was overhauled for state-of-the-art functionality and expanded content management capabilities in early 2013.
The agreement with MLS and SUM marks the fifth league or property partnership for USA TODAY Sports Media Group, which also has marketing partnerships in place with NASCAR, The PGA Tour, UFC and Churchill Downs.
About USA TODAY Sports Media Group
The USA TODAY Sports Media Group encompasses all sports initiatives across USA TODAY Sports and Gannett's more than 100 well-known local media brands. It also includes the sports photography wire service USA TODAY Sports Images; leading high school sports destination USA TODAY High School Sports; Sports On Earth, a joint venture with MLB Advanced Media dedicated to great sports writing in all its forms; and the hundreds of sites within USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties such as thebiglead.com and mixed martial arts site MMAjunkie.com, among others. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).
About MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Major League Soccer's 18th season will feature 19 clubs each playing 34 regular-season matches. Those clubs include the Chicago Fire; Chivas USA; Colorado Rapids; Columbus Crew; D.C. United; FC Dallas; Houston Dynamo; 2012 MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy; Montreal Impact; New York Red Bulls; New England Revolution; Philadelphia Union; Portland Timbers; Real Salt Lake; San Jose Earthquakes; Seattle Sounders FC; Sporting Kansas City; Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. New York City FC, was unveiled May 21, 2013. For more information about MLS, log on to the league's official website at www.MLSsoccer.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 USA TODAY Sports Media Group