The end of the 2004 MLS season marked the successful conclusion of the first year of a multi-year strategic partnership between Major League Soccer and WireImage, the leading digital photographic press agency and wire service company. WireImage, rapidly emerging as the premier sports photography enterprise, is the preferred photographer of MLS and holds the exclusive commercial rights for the licensing and distribution of MLS photography to editorial, consumer, and MLS corporate clients, including sponsors, licensees, and broadcasters.
In 2004, Major League Soccer team photographers, working with WireImage's expansive network of highly skilled professional photographers, provided more than 9,600 images of MLS players, games, and events to over 3,800 editorial and commercial outlets worldwide. This marks the largest collection of MLS photos ever to be made available in the history of the league. MLS's success and growing popularity over the past year, coupled with WireImage's unprecedented collection of photos and relationships with publications around the world resulted in significant coverage in key newspapers, magazines and online outlets, both domestic and international, including New York Post, ESPN.com, AOL and New York Daily News, among many others. Under the terms of the agreement, WireImage has also created an extensive database of MLS photos for distribution via WireImage.
"WireImage has continued to strengthen its position as a leader in sports photography and image management," said Stu Crystal, Vice President, Marketing and Consumer Products at Major League Soccer. "As Major League Soccer enhances its media presence and expands its roster of corporate partners, it is crucial that the League maintain a thorough and accurate photographic record of games and special events. Our partnership with WireImage enables us to accomplish that objective through their proven online archival capabilities."
"This partnership with MLS is an important addition to WireImage's rapidly growing sports business," said Marc Kurschner, SVP of Sales and Operations at WireImage. "We're delighted to work with MLS to market, sell and distribute its exciting and comprehensive imagery and are proud to be the chosen partner for one of the most popular and dynamic professional sports leagues today."
Major League Soccer and its teams reserve the rights to all images used for promotional and internal use, while WireImage is the league's preferred vendor for commercial, consumer, and editorial usage of MLS photography.