Looking at Shirt Sponsorships from Both Sides of the Pond: Comparing Global Trends Versus America's Major League Soccer

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This paper seeks to compare shirt sponsorship in professional football (soccer) in the United States with global trends. We try to answer why America has been slow to accept shirt sponsorship. In 2007, Major League Soccer (MLS) became the first professional team sports league in the USA to embrace shirt sponsorships, breaking a long-standing taboo that banned this practice. To date, 14 of the 19 MLS clubs wear a sponsored jersey. Only a few fledging professional sports leagues in the USA allow shirt sponsorships (e.g. the Women's National Basketball Association, the United Football League, and the Women's Professional Soccer League). No prestigious professional sports leagues in America allow shirt sponsorships (e.g. Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League). This opposition to shirt sponsorship in professional sports places America in stark contrast to the rest of the world.



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