MLS Dribble, Pass & Shoot

In its second year of existence, Major League Soccer decided it was time to develop its first major, national grassroots marketing program. They knew who to target: the rapidly growing youth soccer market. They also knew who to call to formulate and implement the game-plan: Premier Sports Management. Premier was brought on board to help create every aspect of MLS’s youth marketing program from its inception. The DPS program experienced significant growth each year under the strategic guidance of our youth marketing team.

Premier Sports worked closely with the MLS league office and the 12 member teams to insure the successful implementation in each team market. We also forged strong relationships with the youth soccer community across the country, including national, state and local youth soccer organizations, as well as camp companies. The success of this program is regarded by MLS as a key ingredient in the league’s growth. At the same time, DPS became a very important element in New York Life’s quest to reach families at the grassroots level.

The Objective

  • Build a national program to help convert the millions of youth soccer players in America into avid MLS fans and provide an effective marketing platform for one of the league’s top sponsors.

The Players

  • Major League Soccer (rights holder – client)
  • New York Life (sponsor)
  • MLS Teams (league affiliates)
  • Youth Organizations (local event hosts)

Our Role

  • Help MLS strategically develop structure and implementation process
  • Identify youth soccer organizations by MLS market, then train and oversee execution
  • Negotiate media partnerships in each city/region for advertising/promotion
  • Generate publicity per market
  • Sponsorship activation, promotions
  • Manage game-day Team Championships at MSL stadiums
  • Coordinate National Finals with MLS and media partner Nickelodeon

The Results

  • Helped build the program from ground up into MLS’ most important youth marketing initiative
  • Increased youth participation every year – over 500 competitions nationwide
  • With responsibility of entire national budget, came in under budget each year