Major League Soccer (MLS) announced on Monday that JNCO Jeans USA, the Los Angeles-based street-dialed innovator of extreme style denim brand, as the League's newest licensee. JNCO, which upgraded to its current status after sponsoring two MLS teams last year and four in 2004, has expanded its commitment to soccer by entering into a League-wide licensing agreement to become the exclusive mid-tier fashion apparel supplier for MLS. The company will launch a JNCO-inspired soccer collection for men, boys and women, scheduled to hit stores in Spring 2005 with test delivery in stores beginning this holiday season.
"JNCO is a fashion leader that will provide the young demographic of MLS fans with the innovative products they are looking for," said Stu Crystal, MLS Vice President of Marketing and Consumer Products. "JNCO's strong relationships with mid-tier department stores around the country will help expand the national presence of MLS products in that channel of distribution."
On-the-field soccer looks have recently become popular fashion items, making for the natural evolution of a JNCO-inspired MLS collection. The new line of apparel will feature t-shirts, fleece, jeans, headwear, active tops, non-replica jerseys and accessories. Names, faces and jersey numbers of MLS star players are also planned as part of future designs.
"We know fashion, street and sports and soccer is becoming all three." said Eli Petel, Vice President of Marketing & Licensing for JNCO. "Soccer is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. with 20 million youth playing soccer today, soccer-specific stadiums are now being built in almost every major city in the United States and MLS players are celebrities-in-the-making. This long-time European obsession is poised to become the hottest U.S. sport."
The elaborate MLS offering will feature the distinct JNCO edge with a look and feel manifest in the fabric, fit, finish, wash, and details. The new collection will stand on its own while complementing the existing JNCO collections. To maintain the sport's - and the collection's - look as European in influence - JNCO recruited a top designer from Italy to lead a team of professionals to create the line.
To celebrate this much anticipated Spring '05 collection, JNCO will host Los Angeles Galaxy star player Cobi Jones for a personal appearance and autograph signing on Monday, August 30 (1:00-3:00pm local time) at MAGIC which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center (JNCO booth #ST30057). The JNCO booth at MAGIC will feature a preview of the collection of t-shirts, shorts, non-replica jerseys and jackets, which has already received raves from the mid-tier retail community in its sneak peak of the collection.
JNCO will focus the inaugural collection's distribution on the mid-tier retailers including JC Penney, Kohl's and Sears through which JNCO already sells its progressive denim label. The initial reaction has proven overwhelmingly positive with many retail partners exhibiting growing interest and increasing their commitment to soccer as the next major trend. The MLS fashion line will also be distributed in stadiums, team shops and via the MLS official web site - www.MLSnet.com. Future plans for the JNCO collections include personal appearances from MLS stars, signature lines, and major tie-in promotions with key retailers.
JNCO's commitment to the sport will also be evident in its multi-layered, multi-directional marketing campaign. The company will employ its marketing leverage to extend across markets, media, ages, even languages to reach the target customer. A strategic multi-media campaign will seamlessly integrate MLS with JNCO's products and logos presented on bilingual television, radio, print and online media, in stadiums and at retail.
OFFICIAL TEAM SPONSORSHIPS
JNCO's level of commitment to soccer will not be limited to tapping the trend by offering the right product, but it will also continue to support the individual teams. In addition to its licensing agreement, JNCO is a sponsor of four MLS teams in the country's largest cities: the Los Angeles Galaxy, MetroStars (New York / New Jersey), D.C. United and Chicago Fire. In the process, JNCO, which is in its second year as a team sponsor, has doubled its sponsorship commitment from two teams to four.
The company is designated as an "Official Sponsor" for each team it sponsors. JNCO will utilize in-game, bilingual television and radio spots, promotional drop-ins during the game and logo clock wraps in each half of the broadcast of each team's games. In addition, JNCO will appear on 25,000 pocket schedules and other team collateral including schedule magnets, calendars and posters and will receive logo exposure on each team's official website. A JNCO ad campaign will also be featured in FreeKick, the official game program of MLS distributed in every stadium.
In-stadium events add another layer to JNCO's sponsorship, allowing the denim giant to capitalize on the energy and excitement of each game. During the months of August and September, to coincide with Back-to-School and Hispanic Heritage Month, JNCO will be the presenting sponsor of one home game for each of the four teams, entitling JNCO to be tagged on all pre-game media, to distribute a premium item to fans and to also be significantly represented during halftime events. A "Lucky Seat" promotion affords JNCO the opportunity to give-away product at four games in each market, which will be supported by in-stadium announcements, message board and scoreboard exposure.
Founded in Los Angeles in 1985, JNCO has grown to become a leading fashion-denim company, distributed to more than 3,000 retail doors nationwide. JNCO is committed to excellence and remains a highly sought-after brand in denim-oriented fashion streetwear offering their customers the right look at the right time. Driven to innovate, JNCO blends street-influenced designs with cutting edge technology, yielding great style with a great fit.