US Soccer and Soccer United Marketing part ways after 20 years

The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) has confirmed that the contract with Soccer United Marketing (SUM) will not be renewed after the current deal expires on 2022, bringing an end to the partnership that spanned almost 20 years.

As a result of this announcement, the USSF will take control of the sale of TV and other media rights. They will likely hire a significant in-house staff for those deals as well as sponsorships. It is being reported that by ceasing operations with the commercial arm of Major League Soccer (MLS), US Soccer Federation is seeking to resolve a conflict of interest between the two parties involved.

This decision from USSF is the latest development surrounding the US governing body of soccer, prior to which the body has made certain major leadership changes replacing its president, CEO, and top lawyer, among others. The contract that is bound to end in 2022, coincides with the run-up to the 2026 World Cup taking place in the US, Mexico, and Canada. The previous deal saw SUM supporting US Soccer with $300 million over time. Despite the multi-million dollar partnership, the governing body believes to secure a better value from negotiating with its own media and commercial deals for properties.

Saying that the split was amicable, both released their respective statements mentioning that the agreement will come to an end. SUM CEO Don Garber said, “Soccer United Marketing is proud to have worked closely with U.S. Soccer for nearly two decades to elevate soccer in this country. During the last two decades, SUM’s support of the federation was steadfast, and we achieved all of our goals to improve the commercial value of U.S. Soccer.”

Soccer United Marketing will now negotiate for the domestic media rights as the deal with ESPN, Fox, and Univision for MLS will expire after the 2022 season. MLS will be looking for a more lucrative deal than the current $90 million per season it earns from domestic broadcast partnerships.

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