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Major League Soccer ‘to introduce shirt-sleeve sponsors in 2019’

Major League Soccer is poised to follow in the footsteps of the English Premier League by introducing shirt-sleeve sponsors next season, according to a report in The Athletic.

A source indicated to the publication that those sponsorships could be worth anywhere between $500,000 and $1m per year. Arsenal’s partnership with Visit Rwanda, by contrast, is believed to be worth $13m a year.

The Athletic also reported that DC United is poised to commercially benefit from an uptick in visibility due to the opening of Audi Field and the signing of England legend Wayne Rooney.

Eight companies have shown interest in becoming the club’s new kit sponsor: United Airlines, Amazon, Qatar Airways, financial services firm Edward Jones, local utility conglomerate WGL energy services, consulting firm Guidehouse, UK accounting firm Deloitte, and ESPN’s OTT subscription service ESPN+.

Current partner Leidos is also interested in potentially renewing its five-year deal, which expires at the end of the season after cooling on the idea earlier in the year.

DC United earns $3m a year from Leidos – believed to be in the top third of MLS – and is looking for a kit-sponsorship deal valued closer to $5m a season.