When Minnesota United players don their inaugural MLS jerseys, they will have a bullseye on their chests. FiftyFive.One has learned that Minnesota United FC is set to announce Target Corporation as their sponsor tomorrow.
The multi-million dollar sponsorship is a big boost to United’s ambitions as it looks to recoup a large layout for an MLS franchise fee and a privately-financed stadium. The deal will be among the top ten largest jersey sponsorships in the league.
FiftyFive.One has also learned that Minnesota United has secured a sponsor for naming rights for its new St. Paul stadium, which is scheduled to be completed in late 2018 or early 2019. The stadium sponsor will not be Target but another corporation to be announced later.
Target are also poised to announce a partnership with MLS. In 2010, Volkswagen entered into an partnership with MLS; a portion of which saw the car manufacturer’s logo displayed on D.C. United’s jerseys. Target’s jersey sponsorship of Minnesota United is not part of the league partnership, but the two moves represent a broader shift by the company to focus on soccer.
In July of 2016, Target announced it would be ending its 27-year sponsorship of IndyCar. At the time, senior vice president Scott Nygaard explained the move, saying, “The Target brand is about being fresh and new, so we felt like this was the time to make the difficult decision and expand our sports marketing platform.” The shift toward soccer sponsorship can be seen as part of Target’s broader shift toward Hispanic customers.
Minnesota United has never had a sponsor for the front of its jersey, and it has been something of a white whale for the club. Previously, Atomic Data and the Mall of America had smaller jersey sponsorships (on the back and sleeve, respectively), but a sponsor on the front of the jersey can provide a significant amount of money for the club. In previous negotiations, the club valued its jersey sponsorship at around $4 million a year.
However, fans will have to wait until February to see how the jerseys will look with the new bullseye, as the club won’t be unveiling them for several more weeks.
Target Corporation generated $73.785 billion in revenue in 2015.
Jeff Rueter and Brian Quarstad contributed to this report.