As a fast-casual restaurant company, Chipotle has distinguished itself from its competitors by focusing on where and how its food is grown. Chipotle is now bringing that philosophy to its support of Major League Soccer by creating programs that foster growth in the sport’s next generation of players.
For its largest single sports sponsorship, Chipotle has announced that it will back the first ever MLS Homegrown game, which will feature homegrown players from across the league. As part of the sponsorship, the company will also run promotional programs, like soccer clinics for kids, with 12 of MLS’s 19 clubs, and will celebrate an exceptional boy or girl at 10 of those clubs’ home games as a Chipotle Youth Homegrown Athlete. LA Galaxy Defender Omar Gonzalez will the first MLS spokesperson.
For Chipotle, aligning with MLS allows the company to engage customers through sport, while supporting athleticism at a grassroots level, says Danielle Winslow from Chipotle marketing.
“We are committed to finding better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use, and that value is one that is often shared by people who live an active, healthy lifestyle,” says Winslow. “We hope this partnership will be an effective way to reach a lot of people and share our values with them.”
Known for its nontraditional approach to marketing, Winslow says Chipotle also approached this sponsorship somewhat unconventionally. “While most sponsorships of this kind solely focus on strategic logo placements and brand mentions, we wanted to create a partnership that engages people in a unique way. The inaugural Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game will be the first-ever youth game of its kind for MLS and the game will highlight some of the talented up-and-coming players in the clubs academy teams, bringing awareness to youth soccer.”
To kick-off the partnership, Chipotle will host a March to Soccer promotion in the 12 MLS markets to celebrate the beginning of the MLS season. Soccer fans who come to Chipotle wearing their local MLS Club gear on the date of the team’s home opener can receive a buy-one-get-one deal. And the MLS Homegrown Game will be played this summer at Providence Park along with the AT&T MLS All Star Game.