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Washington, D.C. (May 6, 2008) – D.C. United and Volkswagen of America, Inc. today announced a five-year partnership agreement that will see the two brands join forces in a landmark deal that includes Volkswagen’s logo on the shirts of the most successful team in the history of American professional soccer. Volkswagen will also be prominently featured through a variety of other club and in-stadium marketing components. United will debut the new uniforms on national television Thursday night when the club hosts the Chicago Fire. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium.
“As with all of our important decisions, we took a very strategic approach to engaging the market of potential jersey sponsors,” said United President and CEO Kevin Payne. “We wanted to be sure we found the right partner, and on the right terms. We’re thrilled to have this relationship now with Volkswagen, which is ideal from our point of view — a multi-national company with a strong brand, a cultural understanding of our game, a commitment to our community, and a reputation for thinking a bit out of the box. For us, VW is a perfect partner.”
In addition to the traditional advertising and promotional benefits often found in sponsorship agreements, Volkswagen was insistent on providing the fans of D.C. United some added value while attending games at RFK Stadium. Volkswagen’s fan initiatives include the Volkswagen Garage, a new interactive area located behind the north goal at RFK Stadium. The Volkswagen Garage will serve as a hospitality area and vehicle showroom with space for 1,000 people. The Garage offers a unique brand experience and features: soccer based car games, FIFA Xbox 360 stations, live T-shirt screen printing, branded merchandise, hammocks and Adirondack chairs for relaxation, and a whole lot more. Volkswagen will also be a participating sponsor of D.C. United’s Soccer Celebration located in Parking Lot 8.
“The ‘brand’ we put on our jersey is extremely important to us,” said United Co-managing Partner Victor MacFarlane. “We believe that the D.C. United brand stands for something significant and the ‘brand’ on the front of our jersey has to be compatible with our vision. Volkswagen fulfilled and exceeded our wishes. They are a company committed to excellence and customer service with an international reputation for both. Will Chang and I are delighted they have become our new partners.”
On game days, Volkswagen’s commitment to the fan experience will extend beyond the stadium and soccer celebration. All fans driving to United’s match on Thursday, against Chicago, will be treated to complimentary parking, courtesy of the new presenting sponsor. Going forward, the first 50 Volkswagens to enter lot 4 on gamedays will also be treated to a complimentary spot.
“Since Volkswagen is new to the greater Washington D.C. area, we wanted to find opportunities to support the local community and D.C. United was an obvious choice,” said Stefan Jacoby, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “D.C. United is a great soccer team, committed to success both on and off the pitch. The team philosophy, mission and fans closely mirror our own corporate philosophy and customer base.”
In addition to the partnership with D.C. United, Major League Soccer and Volkswagen today announced a partnership that makes Volkswagen the official automotive partner of Major League Soccer. The partnership delivers MLS league and collective team marks and logos and marketing assets at league events such as the Pepsi MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup, Major League Soccer’s championship game.
“We’re excited to partner with Volkswagen, a global brand with tradition in Football, Fútbol and Soccer,” said Doug Quinn, president of Soccer United Marketing. “With Volkswagen’s roots already embedded in the sport, this is a partnership that makes sense at both the club and league level.”
Volkswagen’s jersey sponsorship element makes the company the first group to adorn the front of United’s shirt in club history. Traditionally, the space is recognized as the most valuable inventory a soccer club has to offer and is reserved for a crest that supports the team, sharing in the organizational goals and ideals. Authentic and replica jerseys and other merchandise are now available in the D.C. United team store at RFK Stadium or by calling 202-546-7023. Fans that have previously purchased a 2008 authentic or replica jersey are able to have a Volkswagen logo added to their merchandise, courtesy of Volkswagen, by visiting the team store or the jersey stand inside C gate on game days.
Elements of the new alliance will be on display Thursday night, when United hosts Chicago. Tickets to the match are available at www.dcunited.com or by calling 202-587-5000. Group tickets, package plans and individual tickets to United matches, not including SuperLiga games and the Los Angeles Galaxy match on June 29, are also now available for sale. For more ticket information or to purchase ticket packages, log on to www.dcunited.com or call D.C. United at (202) 587-5000.
About D.C. United
Headquartered in Washington, DC and playing home matches at RFK Stadium, D.C. United is the most successful professional soccer organization in the history of the United States. United is four-time MLS Cup Champions (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004) and winners of the 1996 U.S. Open Cup, the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup, the 1998 Interamerican Cup and the 1997, 1999, 2006 and 2007 MLS Supporters Shields. United is one of 14 teams comprising Major League Soccer, joining CD Chivas USA, the Chicago Fire, the Colorado Rapids, the Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo, the Kansas City Wizards, the Los Angeles Galaxy, the New England Revolution, Red Bull New York, Real Salt Lake, the San Jose Earthquakes and Toronto FC. For the latest headlines and official information on the Black-and-Red, log onto www.dcunited.com.