Thursday, January 14, 2010

EXCLUSIVE-Continental signs on as tire sponsor of MLS

DETROIT, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Continental AG's U.S. tire operations has signed a multiyear, multimillion-dollar deal to be the official tire sponsor of Major League Soccer in the United States.


The high-income demographics of MLS fans is the perfect target and the sport also will allow Continental to tap into a Hispanic fan base that eventually could help boost sales in Latin America, Matthias Schonberg, CEO of Continental Tire for the Americas, told Reuters.


"We are a ... very conservative company, very much profit oriented and we would not do this if we wouldn't see payback," he said. "The payback for us is getting new customers and bringing our brand around."


The German parent company already sponsors FIFA, which hosts soccer's World Cup tournament.


"With MLS, we continue what we've been doing worldwide with soccer so there's a certain logic," Schonberg said. "It's a fast-growing sport."


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