Major League Soccer has announced a new partnership with sports drink company BodyArmor, part of a media and advertising push ahead of MLS’s 25th anniversary season.
BodyArmor investor and NBA icon Kobe Bryant was on hand during an announcement ceremony at LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium along with MLS players C.J. Sapong of Chicago, Lucas Zelarayan of Columbus, Ola Kamara of DC United, Yuya Kubo of Cincinnati, Matias Pellegrini of Inter Miami, Nani of Orlando City, Alejandro Bedoya of Philadelphia and Nico Lodeiro of 2019 MLS Cup champions Seattle.
Bryant and the players unveiled a customized, 4-foot-tall replica bottle that BodyArmor created to commemorate the league’s 25th season and took place in a penalty kick skills shootout contest with more than a dozen players from the LAFC Under-12 academy team.
“I’m very happy to be part of this event,” Lodeiro said. “Kobe was my idol in basketball, so I’m enjoying this moment not only with Kobe but with the kids. We’re showing the world that our league is growing up very fast.”
The deal, which makes BodyArmor the Official Sports Drink of MLS in the United States, is the largest multiyear partnership in the company’s history. BodyArmor eclipsed $700 million in retail sales in 2019. Reports have Bryant’s initial 10 percent investment in the company in 2014 currently worth $200 million.
NBA legend Kobe Bryant speaks about the new partnership between @MLS and @DrinkBODYARMOR, announced on Wednesday in Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/MHRm4qvquP— SportsTravel (@SportsTravel) January 16, 2020
The league partnership will include BodyArmor’s logo and branding on coolers, cups, bottles and towels on the sidelines during MLS games. BodyArmor and MLS will also collaborate on custom content and media integrations, as well as BodyArmor working with MLS club youth programs to support coaches and managers with sideline equipment and hydration needs.
BodyArmor also announced exclusive team partnerships with 19 Major League Soccer clubs: Austin FC (which begins play in 2021), Chicago Fire FC, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew SC, D.C. United, FC Cincinnati, Houston Dynamo, Inter Miami FC, Los Angeles FC, Minnesota United FC, Nashville SC, New York Red Bulls, New York City FC, Orlando City SC, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City.