Acura will be the official jersey sponsor and automotive partner for Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew SC.
The deal, announced Friday, calls for the Acura logo to appear on the front of Crew jerseys for the next three seasons. The jerseys will debut during the team’s first match on March 4 in Columbus.
Authentic and replica Crew jerseys sold in stores will feature the Acura logo, too.
Acura, which is looking to appeal to millennials, says partnering with the Crew will help it reach the soccer league’s youthful, multicultural audience.
The brand believes the MLS crowd will be receptive to its products. The brand says the RDX and MDX, for instance, were among the top-selling SUVs for those under 35 in the premium category from 2012 to 2016.
Acura’s strong manufacturing presence near Columbus made the Crew deal a natural fit as well, said Tom Peyton, assistant vice president of marketing operations for American Honda. The NSX, ILX, TLX and RDX are all built in central Ohio, while the MDX is expected to join that list this spring.
MLS is gaining popularity among automakers.
In addition to Acura, Audi is making its presence felt with a league sponsorship deal that began in 2015. On top of that, Audi announced this month that it will have the naming rights to D.C. United’s new stadium, which will be known as Audi Field. Audi Field is scheduled to open in 2018.
Two Crew matches will get national exposure, with one on ESPN on Sept. 10 and another on the Spanish-language Unimas on April 1. Matches will also air regionally.
“That’s the great benefit of a jersey buy. Every game is televised. That says a lot for this type of sponsorship when your billboard is traveling town-to-town with you,” Peyton told Automotive News.