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New York City FC to put increased focus on team-specific sponsorship sales

Major League Soccer team New York City FC is tweaking its business model to put an increased focus on team-specific corporate partnership sales.

Up until recently, its Manhattan head office has had one corporate sales team, which has been responsible for securing NYCFC-specific deals as well as multi-club deals with North American companies for majority owners City Football Group and its roster of teams.

Now the sales team is being split into two to ensure that some staff focus entirely on NYCFC and increase the number of MLS team sponsorships.

NYCFC has many team partnerships already, including Mastercard, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Dumbo Moving & Storage, Ford and Grand Hyatt New York hotel. It also participates in a series of City Football Group-wide partnerships, such as Etihad Airways, Nissan, SAP, Cisco, Hays, EA Sports and Wega. Currently, a third of NYCFC partnerships, 12 out of 36, are multi-club deals.

City Football Group also controls the Premier League’s Manchester City, Australia’s Melbourne City FC, and the Indian Super League’s Mumbai City FC, among other franchises.

The move for NYCFC is part of a wider business restructure that has followed the arrival of Brad Sims as chief executive in January 2019.

Since then, Matt Goodman was appointed chief operating officer and chief commercial officer, a new position created by NYCFC, in January 2020. Goodman has been tasked with overseeing ticket sales, suites and premium seating, corporate partnership, marketing, business intelligence and analytics, as well as youth programs. More business hires are expected this year.

“Over the past few years, we’ve had a global partnerships team who are selling cross-property, multi-team global deals. That’s been the focus rather than team by team,” Sims told SportBusiness at a NYCFC media day in New York.

“We haven’t had a team that is just focused on selling NYCFC. We have teams rather doing seven-, eight-, nine-figure global deals and have had ton of success. I think we should keep doing that but I think we’ve missed out on selling to NYCFC-only partners in market who don’t have a global footprint or have those budgets. We’ve missed that for the past few years.”