On the same day the New York Red Bulls announced the signing of Kemar Lawrence, potentially plugging the squad's need for a specialist left-sided midfielder and back-up left back, NJ Biz is reporting another important deal that meets several of the club's needs with one contract.
RBNY has reportedly agreed to the largest marketing partnership in its history with Yanmar, a Japanese heavy equipment manufacturer. The agreement makes Yanmar the official agricultural machinery provider of the New York Red Bulls. And the club's official "marine provider, diesel engine provider, and utility vehicle provider".
This is an exciting new era in the team's history. There will be tractors, boats, sturdy golf-cart-esque things. And money.
Sports Business Daily's Ian Thomas reports the deal is worth "seven figures annually" (hat tip: @DanCovello):
In addition to answering RBNY's call for quality heavy machinery and a better class of boat engine, Yanmar will have its logo on the team's training jersey, signage at Red Bull Arena, visibility on RBNY's digital and broadcast presence, and "private luxury suite access" for home games (which hopefully means its own "Skybox" rather than the spare key to a conference room).
Beyond money and boats, there is reason for RBNY to celebrate attracting Yanmar's attention: the company has a longstanding interest in soccer, starting with Cerezo Osaka in Japan, which was founded as Yanmar's company team. In recent years, it has signed marketing deals with Manchester United, and Borussia Dortmund.
It is no small thing to get Yanmar to sign a deal with a team that Shinji Kagawa (who started his career at Cerezo Osaka) has never played for, although it does also support the Vietnam national football team.
And if you're looking for a soccer reason to get excited about this partnership, the Kagawa connection might be worth keeping an eye on. It's a stretch to suggest the 25-year-old playmaker could be headed to MLS any time soon, but a friendly with Dortmund doesn't seem like it ought to be impossible to organize.
Most likely, this deal is about nothing more than money and the occasional sailboat for RBNY. But it is worth noting the new sponsor has connections with the sort of clubs that can sell out Red Bull Arena in a hurry.