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Mondelēz Kicks Up Its Sponsorship of Major League Soccer

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — Mondelēz International Inc. inked a multi-year deal to become the official snacks of Major League Soccer (MLS).

The sponsorship boosts the presence of Mondelēz International brands — like Oreo, Ritz, Trident, Honey Maid and Sour Patch Kids — in the sport as the company enters the second year of its #PassTheLove campaign, a fully integrated program to help spread the passion for soccer coast to coast.

"MLS has played an enormous role in the explosion of soccer in America, and we're excited about how this great league and its fans can help us #PassTheLove," said Stephen Chriss, senior director, North America Consumer Engagement and Marketing Services at Mondelēz International. "Our MLS sponsorship opens even more avenues to reinforce how our snacks increase the fun of soccer whether you're at the stadium, watching on TV or playing the game."

The designation of "Official Snacks of MLS" extends to the cookie, candy, cracker and gum categories and will be inclusive of a series of globally recognized brands operated by Mondelēz International, including Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Ritz, Wheat Thins, Honey Maid, Newtons, Belvita, Trident, Dentyne, Stride and Sour Patch Kids.

The deal with MLS includes all forms of media, retail, shopper marketing, consumer promotions, public relations and social media. The sponsorship includes rights to activate at the AT&T MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup, MLS' championship game, and to align with current players and other league ambassadors.

Deal terms were negotiated in conjunction with CAA Sports Consulting (on behalf of Mondelēz International) and Soccer United Marketing.

This year marks the 20th season for MLS. This year, the league has new national TV and media rights partnerships, and expansion clubs in key markets including New York and Orlando.

Mondelēz International said it recognizes the enormous potential to leverage the league's growing stature with a broad range of consumers — including multicultural audiences — whether it's in-store or through innovative digital media executions.

"It's always great to partner with companies that have a true passion for soccer, and Mondelēz International understands the potential of our league and our sport to resonate with consumers and fans," said David Wright, senior vice president, Global Partnerships, Soccer United Marketing. "Unveiling this new sponsorship with globally recognized brands is yet another great way to begin our 20th season."

The pact continues Mondelēz International's support for soccer. In 2014, the company unveiled a multi-year sponsorship to become the Official Snacks of U.S. Soccer (men's and women's national teams). The company also maintains an endorsement deal with Alex Morgan, one of the preeminent figures in women's soccer.

With MLS now added to the mix, Mondelēz International plans to continue its integrated #PassTheLove campaign, an innovative, socially powered movement that began in 2014 and has become the company's largest multi-brand program to date.

"Our #PassTheLove campaign proved the power of soccer to help our brands score with consumers, and we plan to make this year even bigger," Chriss said.

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