2024 Soccer Industry News

January 29, 2024

Soccer industry storylines in 2024

There will be a ton of marketing, event, and media news affecting the soccer industry throughout 2024. Want to stay in the loop? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Below is a rundown of some of the top soccer industry news items that have come across our radar throughout the year.

Quick Headlines

A collection of newsworthy items spanning sponsorships, competitions, ownership, investments, media, gaming, and more.

  • With the Paris Olympics fast approaching, Team USA and LA28 have signed a deal with Anheuser-Busch through the 2028 Olympics in LA. As part of the deal, Michelob Ultra will roll out custom packaging highlighting partnerships with the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams in advance of and throughout Paris 2024.
  • U.S. Soccer and Marriott Bonvoy announced a multiyear agreement, which sees the hotel and resort company gain exclusivity in the hotel lodging, accommodations, and hotel loyalty category. The partnership will be brought to life through the SpringHill Suites by Marriott brand.
  • Brazilian-based digital financial services firm, Inter&Co, is the new stadium naming rights partner of Orlando City and Orlando Pride, replacing Exploria. Among other things, the new partnership will help provide a new video board and improved in-stadium Wi-Fi. Inter&Co will also organize financial literacy programs.
  • FIFA announced it has extended its partnership with Visa through 2026. The multinational payment card service will retain its title as FIFA’s Official Payment Technology Partner and continue to provide cardholders exclusive behind-the-scenes access at events like the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup.

Ownership / Investment
  • The Portland Thorns have a new owner. Lisa Bhathal Merage and her brother Alex Bhathal, operators of RAJ Capital, purchased the NWSL franchise from Merritt Paulson for $63 million – a record price for NWSL club acquisition. RAJ Capital also owns a minority ownership in the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
  • Former MLB player and 6-time All-Star, José Bautista, is now the principal owner of USL Championship club Las Vegas Lights. Bautista will assume the role of chairman and governor of the club ahead of the 2024 season, which begins in March.
  • Sportico shared their updated MLS club valuations (paywall) for the first time since 2022 and the average worth is up 16%. Four clubs topped the $1 billion mark and collectively, the 29 clubs are worth $19.7 billion, including real estate and team-related businesses held by owners.

  • The ninth edition of the SheBelieves Cup will kick off with a doubleheader of games on Saturday, April 6 in Atlanta. This year’s competition features the U.S., Brazil, Canada, and Japan. The second doubleheader game day is Tuesday, April 9 in Columbus.
  • According to FIFA, the game dates and host city allocations for the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup will be announced live during a special broadcast at 3pm ET on Sunday, February 4th.
  • FIFA recently shared it is targeting 2026 to host the first-ever Women’s Club World Cup. After much discussion regarding frequency of the event, the confederations of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America, and South America, along with FIFA, have agreed to a biennial tournament.
  • For the first time, the Coachella Valley Invitational, organized by AEG, is adding four NWSL teams to its lineup. The event, held in Indio, Calif., will feature preseason games and training sessions from Feb. 7-24. The participating professional men’s teams feature 11 MLS teams and Phoenix Rising of USL Championship.
  • NWSL Commissioner Jessica Berman provided several updates for the 2024 season and beyond. She touched on the planned league rebrand in 2025, expansion in 2026, and more.

Media / Gaming
  • The Deutsche Fussball Liga, which includes the Bundesliga and 2.Bundesliga, has announced an extension to their partnership with EA Sports. As part of the deal, the video game developer and publisher will maintain its exclusive rights to include the leagues, the clubs, and their players in the EA Sports FC game.
  • MLS Season Pass is available on the Apple TV app. Just like in year one, subscribers will have full access to all MLS, MLS playoff, and Leagues Cup games with no blackouts. Shoulder content providing in-depth coverage of the league will also be available, including a new Spanish-language version of the popular whip-around show, MLS 360.
  • Did you watch the AFC Championship game? If you did, you may have seen a commercial from our longtime client, Paramount+, and collaborative partners, 72&Sunny, celebrating the mid-day, mid-week viewing UEFA Champions League fans know all too well.

  • MLS announced the launch of the MLS Innovation Lab, designed to identify cutting-edge startups and technologies to, among other things, enhance the fan experience, develop the next generation of athletes, and drive growth. Six different companies are part of the inaugural group.
  • The NBA held a game in Paris, which provided PSG an opportunity to collaborate with the Brooklyn Nets and KidSuper. The three partnered to create a t-shirt sold exclusively at an American-style pizza place in Paris.
  • Mexican sporting goods and apparel manufacturer, Charly, is expanding their U.S. presence. Official partner of Liga MX and jersey provider of six of the league’s clubs, Charly has signed a multiyear agreement with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL Championship.

In-Depth Insight

Features with next-level insights into the soccer industry written by For Soccer.

  • Soccer industry storylines in 2024 (read)
  • 2023 Soccer on U.S. TV – Year in Review (read)
  • 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup Host Insights – Dallas (read)
  • Cool brands (according to college students) and their ties to soccer (read)