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Target pushes into soccer sponsorship

News, 23 January 2017
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN: Target's iconic bullseye logo will soon feature on the jerseys of Minnesota United players after the retail giant announced it has become an official sponsor of the club as part of its biggest ever push into US soccer.

The Minneapolis-based retailer also will become an Official Partner of Major League Soccer (MLS) after striking a multi-year deal that includes airtime during broadcasts on ESPN, FOX Sports and Univision.

In addition, the company said in a statement that there would be "opportunities for in-stadium experiences, player appearances and ownership of certain major MLS platforms" that will be unveiled later.

"There are so many things that drew us to soccer – it's multicultural, watched and played by families and is growing immensely in popularity," commented Rick Gomez, SVP of Marketing at Target.

"We've partnered with several incredible organizations and vendors to invite soccer fans everywhere to engage with the Target brand in new ways," he added.

Gomez went on to tell Fortune that the popularity of soccer is increasing across demographic groups in the US, especially among Hispanics, and that sales of soccer-related items at Target stores rose 15% last year.

"We are always looking for new, innovative ways to connect and drive relevancy with our guests and we think soccer is a platform that can enable us to do just that," he said. "Soccer is incredibly popular with Hispanics and Hispanics represent a key demographic for Target."

The company added that it would become the Official Retailer of US Youth Soccer, which features more than 3m players between the ages of five and 19, as well as 900,000 coaches, volunteers and administrators.

In addition, Target will be the presenting sponsor of the Target United Cup, which it says is the largest recreational soccer tournament in the US.

Target has further plans to engage many of its leading vendors in its soccer marketing initiative, including Procter & Gamble's Gillette and Tide brands, as well as Kimberly-Clark, Philips and others.

"We see this as a platform that could help us build connections with our guests, build love for our brand and at the same time drive traffic into our stores," Gomez said.

Data sourced from Target, Fortune; additional content by Warc staff

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