VW Hoping for a Kick From U.S. Soccer Federation Partnership

Volkswagen is proud to be in a new partnership with the U.S. Soccer Federation, helping present U.S. Soccer through 2022. And we mean really proud of it. “We are absolutely thrilled about this partnership with U.S. Soccer,” said Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “Our program is about helping to grow this great sport in the U.S. We’re calling it One Goal.” So why are they so happy to be part of a sport that’s not exactly on the tip of the tongue when it comes to American sports?

It might just be that because soccer, like Volkswagen, is really big in the rest of the world but small in the U.S. VW posted up 10.8 million vehicle deliveries in 2018, which might just end up with them in the number one spot. And soccer is the most watched sport in the world. But in the U.S. soccer is less watched than hockey and VW has less than two percent market share.

So two plucky underdogs who really aren’t underdogs can both do a lot to help each other grow.

Volkswagen calls soccer the “people’s sport.” All you need is a ball. For a company that’s best known for building “the people’s car” you can see the appeal. The company sponsors national soccer teams around the world, so doing the same in the States makes sense.

U.S. Soccer can bring eyes to VW. They’ll have branding at USSF events, but go beyond that to screens on the field and billboard ads. VW branding is on the team’s practice gear too. Volkswagen can return the favor with owner perks like special VW owner parking at games. The first time they offered it, it filled up fast. It can bring people to the game who might not otherwise have thought to go watch soccer.

Volkswagen and the USSF said that soccer is the biggest sport in America for kids. And VW is encouraging dealers to be a part of this at the grassroots level. Support local kids leagues and the sport and the car brand can grow with them. Any Canadian readers know that entry-level hockey and Tim Hortons go together like two creams and two sugars. VW and the USSF have the chance to make the same indelible links here. The two are also working on a plan to try and identify why 47 percent of soccer players are women, but only 15 percent of coaches. Then make a plan to encourage more women to coach.

Pro soccer is still a new sport in the U.S. Relative to the other major leagues, at least. That means their fans are younger. 10 years younger than traditional pro sports, and they’re far more likely to support the sponsor of their team than any of the other pro leagues.

The partnership gives VW a chance to bring their brand to more people. Right now that’s the Atlas, where they have a 70 percent rate of buyers new to the brand but low awareness that they make it. Going forward, it will be to bring their electric brands to the forefront, making sure buyers are familiar with the entire lineup, not just classic Beetles, vintage buses, and new Golfs.