NEW YORK -- And the youth shall be served.
MLS announced on Monday a new partnership with Chipotle Mexican Grill, the centerpiece of which will be an inaugural Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game. The match, to be held during the AT&T MLS All-Star Week in Portland in early August, will feature the best Homegrown players from around the league.
Details on how the players will be chosen, who they will face, and where the match can be seen are due to come later.
“Chipotle is an incredible brand and has truly embraced MLS’ aspirational position for millions of youth soccer players,” said David Wright, senior vice president of global sponsorship for MLS. “We love the idea of the Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game and we look forward to Chipotle playing an important role in continuing to grow the sport of soccer in this country for years to come.”
The MLS deal is Chipotle’s largest single sports partnership and, in addition to the Homegrown Game, will feature promotional programs with 12 teams, individual players, and programs across the entire league.
One program, in particular, will honor an exceptional athlete at 10 home games per MLS club as the Chipotle Youth Homegrown Athlete. Each athlete will receive four tickets to the game, special recognition during the game, a chance to meet players and coaches, dinner at Chipotle with his/her team, and the opportunity to host a fundraiser for his/her team at their favorite Chipotle location. Chipotle and each MLS Club will also host free soccer clinics.
“At the core of our effort to change the way people think about and eat fast food is our commitment to finding better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use,” said Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s chief marketing and development officer. “That value is one that is often shared by people with an active lifestyle. This partnership with MLS will allow us to further engage consumers in a sport we have long supported through grassroots efforts.”
LA Galaxy and US national team star Omar Gonzalez will be the partnership's first featured MLS spokesperson, appearing in promo videos on various digital channels.
The MLS-Chipotle partnership will help kick off the 2014 MLS season with a "March to Soccer" promotion that should make hungry soccer supporters happy.
Soccer fans in the 12 select markets who visit a Chipotle wearing their local MLS club's gear on the date of the team’s home opener can receive a buy-one-get-one deal. The dates and markets for Chipotle’s "March to Soccer" events are below:
- FC Dallas: March 8
- Houston Dynamo: March 8
- LA Galaxy: March 8
- Portland Timbers: March 8
- Seattle Sounders FC: March 8
- San Jose Earthquakes: March 15
- Philadelphia Union: March 15
- Sporting Kansas City: March 15
- Colorado Rapids: March 22
- Columbus Crew: March 22
- New England Revolution: March 22
- Chicago Fire: March 23
Get more info at chipotle.com/homegrown.