TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer Leagues, LLC, announced on Wednesday a new partnership with renowned soccer manufacturer Select, which will become the official match ball provider to all USL properties beginning in the 2018 season. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Select is well established in European football, becoming the official match ball provider to the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga beginning in the 2018-19 season, and is an official partner of the Danish Superliga. Its new agreement covers all USL-related properties, including the United Soccer League – one of the most prominent Division II professional leagues in the world – the USL’s Division III, the Premier Development League (PDL) and the Super Y League. Select will support its partnership through additional marketing and advertising, while enhancing each USL club’s merchandise offering of licensed and official replica match balls.
“This new agreement between the USL and Select will continue to raise the profile of both organizations and create synergies to drive the growth of professional soccer forward in the region,” said USL Chief Executive Officer Alec Papadakis. “We are thrilled to work with a partner that wants to build and grow with the USL, and believes in our vision for the future of soccer in this country. In addition, for our continued success, it’s important that we are aligned with an authentic football brand for our fans and our clubs. This is a great quality ball, and premier brand in the sport.”
Founded in 1947 by Danish national team player Eigin Nielsen, Select has been an innovator on the pitch since its early days. Select match balls were the first to be produced with no outside cord, which allowed the ball to better retain its shape, and later was the first manufacturer to introduce the 32-panel design which is now the standard for soccer balls around the world.
Since securing its partnership with the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga earlier this year, Select is now aiming to move strongly into the North American market, and its partnership with the fast-growing USL and its associated properties is a major step forward in that effort.
“The tremendous growth the USL has seen in new soccer markets makes it the perfect partner as we raise Select’s profile across North America,” said President of Select Sport America Lars Nielsen. “The opportunity for the USL and Select to rise together across the soccer landscape in the United States and Canada through this partnership will see our range of top-level match balls made highly visible and highly available in the USL’s broad spectrum of markets, and we are very excited to be part of the league’s plans for further growth.”
Select’s representatives were a guest at the 2017 USL Winter Summit which opened on Wednesday in downtown Tampa, Fla.
The USL is one of the most prominent Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, with 30 markets in 20 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces for the 2017 season. In total, the USL reaches a population of 75 million people, fueling the growth of professional soccer across North America.
In 2016, more than $100 million were invested league-wide into stadium infrastructure to create venues that deliver an unforgettable fan and competitor experience. The USL has national media partnerships with ESPN and SiriusXM, and recently invested $10 million to create USL Productions – which includes a state-of-the-art facility that will produce and distribute nearly 500 league matches and more than 1,000 hours of original content to national partners, local affiliates, USL’s Match Center and international markets.
A growing league, the USL has more than doubled in size since 2014, with Ottawa Fury FC, Reno 1868 FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies debuting in 2017. Nashville SC, Fresno FC and Las Vegas Lights FC are set to join the league for 2018, with Birmingham, Alabama and Austin, Texas set to join the league in 2019. Beyond league play, the USL regularly features international exhibitions against leading Premier League, Liga MX, and Bundesliga clubs, among others.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., the USL provides unparalleled club support with a growing team of more than 50 professionals across 17 departments, ranging from operations to marketing, communications and sponsorship. Follow the USL at USLSoccer.com, the USL Match Center, and on social media via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.