Major League Soccer franchise Philadelphia Union has teamed up with stadium sponsor Subaru to showcase local adoptable dogs at home games during the 2020 season.

Cardboard cutouts of dogs available for adoption will fill in for real-life fans as MLS games continue to be held behind closed doors. The initiative will launch from tomorrow’s (Tuesday’s) game against New York Red Bulls at Subaru Park.

The cutouts will become known as the ‘Dogs of Ben’ in a nod to the Union’s Sons of Ben supporters’ group. Subaru will work with local shelters, including the Providence Animal Center, to fill the stands at midfield with the cutouts in the hope that the dogs can find new owners.

Fans who are interested in adopting one of the dogs can visit to learn more information.

Alan Bethke, senior vice-president of marketing at Subaru of America, said: “At Subaru, our love for pets runs as deeply as our love for soccer, and from the onset of our partnership with the Union, we knew we wanted to bring our furry friends out to Subaru Park and bring awareness to adopting shelter pets.

“While home games may look a bit different this year, we hope the Dogs of Ben add some fun to game day while helping to unite local dogs in the greater Philadelphia area with loving owners.”

Union president Tim McDermott added: “We are thrilled to be hosting the first Philadelphia Union game at Subaru Park on August 25 and to introduce the innovative ways we are incorporating our fans, community, partners, and even adoptable pets into a Union game day. As a community-first minded company and alongside our partner Subaru, we will continue to look for ways to help and highlight organisations in need.”

Subaru has been the Union’s stadium sponsor since February and replaced Talen Energy as the venue’s naming-rights partner.

Image: Philadelphia Union