• In March, the MLS announced MGM Resorts International as the league’s official gaming partner.
  • The new policies will allow sports betting and liquor companies to purchase naming rights for a team’s jersey or home stadium.
  • The MLS will also allow stadiums to open their own retail sportsbook if they are located in states or territories that will also legally allow that.

NEW YORK – Major League Soccer has taken a major shift in it’s approach to commercial sponsorship guidelines. In an announcement made by the league earlier this week, the MLS will now allow any of its 24 teams to secure sponsorships with sports betting and liquor companies.

“We want to be viewed as a progressive league, and provide our clubs with an appropriate level of flexibility,” said Carter Ladd, MLS Senior Vice President of Business Development in an interview with Fortune.

“We don’t want to be restrictive: we want to enable them in a positive way, and that’s why we’re taking this action…We strongly believe this is going to help drive new revenues.”

Teams can now sign deals which allow them to have sports-betting or liquor companies purchase naming rights for their jerseys or for their stadium.

Sports wagering companies can also set up their own sportsbook lounge inside their partner’s stadium if their state government allows, advertise using “call-to-action” methods to entice fans to bet on sports, and buy advertising space during a particular MLS broadcast.

The new guidelines even go as far as to allow a sponsored club to create “ancillary programming around sports betting.” Those programs would cover betting odds for MLS games and could use footage from previous matches.

“Right now, we want to take advantage of the widespread legalization of sports betting in the U.S.,” said Ladd.

The MLS has shown previous interest in getting involved with the legal US sports betting market. In March, the league announced that MGM Resorts International would be their official gaming partner as part of a strategic multi-year deal.

Although, the new sponsorship opportunities do come with some limitations. The MLS will not allow youth-sized jerseys to be sold with liquor sponsors on the jersey. Players under the age of 21 can also not appear in any alcohol-related advertising and no player can appear in sports-gambling related marketing.

The policy changes will take effect immediately, giving teams the opportunity to sign new sponsorship deals before the end of this season.

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