Captain Morgan kicks off new Canadian soccer sponsorship

The brand has expanded its MLS partnership to Canada in an effort to tap into buzz around the growing game.
captain morgan

Rum brand Captain Morgan, part of the Diageo family of spirits, has made a big move to expand its soccer strategy in Canada.

The brand has been dipping its toes into the soccer world over the last two years; in 2018, it partnered with Toronto FC, and last year it announced a five-year deal with five Major League Soccer (MLS) teams in the U.S.

Now, the brand has expanded its Canadian sponsorship nationally, becoming an official partner of MLS Canada. The partnership will extend to MLS’ three Canadian venues (Toronto FC’s BMO Field, the Vancouver Whitecaps’ BC Place and the Montreal Impact’s Saputo Stadium) through on-field signage, with broadcast integrations on TSN and TVA Sports, as well as MLS digital platforms.

Mark Phillips, director of marketing for Diageo tells MiC that soccer in Canada and the U.S. has grown exponentially over the last decade and is capturing a lot of attention among spectator sports. “With a growing and diverse fan base, uniquely representative of Canada, this is an exciting and timely partnership for both MLS and Captain Morgan.” The goal, says Phillips, is to align the Captain Morgan brand with the positive and dynamic “match-day atmosphere.”

Besides integrations into the TV broadcasts of the games, Captain Morgan placed a national TV buy celebrating the partnership, which went live earlier this month.

The partnership was facilitated in the U.S. between Captain Morgan, MLS and Wasserman Media Group, which then extended to Canada.

Many in the industry have acknowledged the growing – and diverse – fanbase of soccer as a good reason for brands to align with the game.

Jim Kozak, VP of MediaCom Sport and Entertainment, told MiC sister publication CARD that interest in soccer both from audiences and sponsors is on the rise and he’s noticed a particular uptick over the last three to four years; although he says the sudden rise of the Raptors has stunted the growth of the game ever-so-slightly. Nevertheless, Kozak says league-wide buys can be very efficient, and that the same amount of money invested in a partnership with MLS could likely get a comparable sponsorship at the team level with the NHL.