The 2023 MLS season kicked off last Saturday (2/25) with big news: not only did the league just announce a $2.5B blockbuster broadcasting deal with Apple TV, but it’s also welcoming a new franchise–St. Louis City SC, which will face off against Austin FC in the team’s inaugural home match this Saturday. In honor of the city’s place in the pro sports spotlight this weekend, let’s take a closer look at the sponsorship landscape in the Gateway City.
St. Louis offers sponsorship opportunities across various avenues from 3 major pro sports teams (MLB, MLS, NHL), to colleges, marathons, and festivals (just to name a few). With 9 deals, Budweiser leads the list of brands actively buying sponsorships in Missouri’s 2nd-biggest city and the 26th largest market in the US by population. It comes at no surprise the AB brand leads STL in deals since the city is also the brand’s official HQ. In terms of traditional media (TV & radio only), midwest-based home improvement company Menards, leads the way with 13 deals, trailed by broadband connectivity giant Spectrum with 11. Brands active in the St. Louis market favor purchasing in-venue assets with the St. Louis Cardinals and St. Louis Blues.
Ahead of its first home match, St. Louis City partnered with Together Credit Union as the team’s Official Debit Card, SeatGeek as primary and secondary Ticketing Partner, and Nestlé Purina PetCare as Jersey Patch sponsor.
With a combined following of 7.1M, the Cardinals and Blues dominate the “Gateway to the West” social space. The Cardinals engaged 470K fans with more than 130 sponsorship deals during the 2022 season, followed closely by the Blues with 450K engagements and north of 115 partnerships this season. Notable social standouts in the St. Louis market include former Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright.
While luxury car brands are active in the NHL–Lexus, for example, sponsors 13 league franchises–however the Blues currently lack a high-end auto partner, as do the Cardinals. Another semi-conspicuous absence in their respective endorsement portfolios: FinTech, a category where 33 brands have sponsorship deals with major pro sports teams, but not one in St. Louis. The Blues have a TV deal with 5-Hour Energy, one of 18 energy drink brands with a media or sponsorship deal in the big leagues. Time will tell if an official energy drink sponsor lies in the team’s future.