With New U.S. Pro Soccer League, MasterCard Has the Field Covered
Meece, Mickey, American Banker
Viewers of Major League Soccer's inaugural game last Saturday should not have been surprised to see the MasterCard logo appear almost constantly on their television screens.
It was further evidence that MasterCard International has made its identification with the "world game" a top marketing priority, just as Visa International has latched onto the Olympics as its main global sports sponsorship.
Having committed $8 million over four years to be one of six official sponsors of professional soccer in the United States, the Purchase, N.Y. based card association got several prominent billboard positions that the television cameras swept by repeatedly during the opening match at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif.
MasterCard's logo also appeared three times on the uniform of each member of the visiting team from Washington, D.C. United, which lost to the San Jose Clash 1-0. The Clash's uniforms prominently displayed the name of its sponsor, America Honda.
MasterCard has been increasing its soccer sponsorships worldwide, which have included tie-ins with the quadrennial World Cup tournaments and major regional competitions in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Including the latest U.S. deal and the World Cup finals in France in 1998, the association has committed $100 million to soccer over four years, said a spokeswoman, Marianne Fulgenzi. …