The United Soccer League (USL), organiser of competitions that sit below Major League Soccer (MLS) in the US soccer system, has agreed a wide-ranging partnership with global premium experiences company Legends which is designed to drive the next evolution of its business.
Under the 10-year contract, Legends will seek to bolster national sponsorship sales, provide actionable fan insights, and unlock innovative business solutions for the USL’s suite of men’s and women’s soccer properties, including the USL Championship, USL Super League, and USL League One.
Legends will also help USL clubs increase their local presence and business growth through stadium planning, development and operations, ticketing strategy, stadium naming rights and sales, merchandise, and technology and digital solutions.
“The USL is perfectly positioned to shape the future of soccer in America at all levels, for both men and women, and this long-term partnership with Legends will help us take advantage of the tremendous opportunity ahead of us,” said USL CEO, Alec Papadakis.
“We are aligning more closely with the global game than any other American soccer property, and as we enter a critical, new growth phase for our commercial business, Legends’ unmatched expertise in both global football and the domestic sports landscape will help us achieve our key business objectives, while continuing to honour the passion of our fans, the dedication of our players, and the commitment of our owners.”
The USL claims to be the largest and fastest-growing professional soccer organisation in North America with more than 200 professional and pre-professional clubs across the United States. The partnership with Legends comes at a time when the USL is in rapid expansion mode, looking to add more than 25 professional clubs over the next five years, highlighted by the launch of the USL Super League, a new professional women’s competition that will kick off in August 2023.
As an emerging commercial property with a young, diverse fan base, the USL believes it offers “collaborative flexibility” to brands looking to invest in soccer ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the US, Mexico and Canada – host cities and venues for which were announced earlier this month.
Legends’ experience in global football includes partnerships with the likes of AC Milan, FC Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and U.S. Soccer. In April, United appointed Legends International and Populous to lead a team that will be tasked with creating a masterplan for the redevelopment of Old Trafford.
“The USL is poised for exponential business growth and has a forward-thinking leadership team that sees the incredible potential for men’s and women’s soccer in the United States,” said Mike Tomon, co-president and chief operating officer of Legends.
“Legends is proud to partner with the USL long-term to leverage our holistic expertise working with leagues, rights holders and stadiums around the globe utilising data-driven solutions to maximise revenue.
“With the launch of the USL Super League, aggressive expansion plans across all USL properties, a deep commitment to stadium development, and the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North America, interest and excitement around soccer will only continue to grow.”