MLS Announces Partnership with R/GA Ventures

(New York, NY – June 1, 2018) Major League Soccer and R/GA Ventures, the investment and innovation arm of global agency R/GA, today announced a strategic partnership focused on the identification of groundbreaking technologies to drive continued growth of the MLS fanbase. This new partnership will provide MLS with an early look at cutting-edge new startups in strategic areas of focus for the League. Since 2013, R/GA Ventures has helped organizations like Snapchat, Verizon, Westfield, MacQuarie Capital, and the Los Angeles Dodgers push their businesses forward.

For MLS, the partnership is an example of the ways in which the league has embraced technology to better serve their diverse and digitally-native millennial audience. The youngest and fastest-growing sports league in North America, the 25-year-old organization attracts the highest percentage of millennial fans in the country, with 36 percent of fans between the ages of 18 and 34.

The composition of this fanbase is reflected in some of the league’s most recent innovation initiatives. These include the launch of eMLS, a competitive gaming league announced in January 2018 to engage the millions of soccer fans that play EA SPORTS FIFA, and recent streaming deals with ESPN+, Twitter, YouTubeTV, and DAZN.

“We are always looking at new ways to serve our young fanbase” said Gary Stevenson, President and Managing Director of MLS Business Ventures. “We admire R/GA and their unique approach to innovation and are excited to partner with them to provide us access to a stream of new startups and ideas that will help MLS better serve our tech-savvy fans.”

For R/GA, the partnership comes as the agency continues to expand its Venture Studio model: helping industry leaders get ahead of disruption through access to a vetted startup ecosystem.

According to Stephen Plumlee, Global Chief Operating Officer of R/GA and Managing Partner of R/GA Ventures, this platform helps corporates embrace innovation in efficient and risk-controlled ways, while providing them with a suite of solutions that can unlock new market opportunities.

“Our Studios are designed to enable our partners to identify and capitalize on disruptive technologies and emerging behaviors,” said Plumlee. “We offer our partners targeted outcomes ranging from market intelligence and knowledge capital to scalable new revenue streams.”

MLS and R/GA Ventures will work together to identify key opportunities and technologies related to fan engagement, on-field data, content creation, player development, and more. The goal of the collaboration is to develop solutions geared toward an audience that’s highly dynamic, with consumption habits that are constantly changing and evolving.

For more information, please visit ventures.rga.com and follow @rgaventures.

About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer features 23 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. For more information about MLS, visit www.MLSsoccer.com.

About R/GA Ventures
R/GA Ventures helps industry leaders embrace disruption, connecting them with emerging startups, technologies, and consumer behaviors to drive their businesses forward. Since 2013, the R/GA Ventures portfolio has grown to include more than 80 companies across a variety of verticals. R/GA Ventures and R/GA are part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG), one of the world’s largest advertising and marketing services organizations. Learn more at ventures.rga.com and by following @rgaventures.

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