Exclusive: New York City FC gift sleeve sponsorship to small chocolate maker

The logo of Bronx craft chocolate company Sol Cacao is shown on the left sleeve of Major League Soccer’s New York City Football Club’s jersey in this undated handout photo. NYCFC.COM/Handout via REUTERS

By Frank Pingue

New York City Football Club will become the first Major League Soccer (MLS) club to feature a small business on their shirts as the team have gifted their sleeve sponsorship to a Bronx craft chocolate company, Reuters has learned on Monday.

NYCFC, through a contest designed to help a local business impacted by COVID-19, surprised Sol Cacao with the prime advertising space to go along with the winning prize of a full partner package.

“We are proud to team up with our terrific partners at Mastercard to provide one extremely worthy Bronx-based small business a needed lift as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact New York City,” NYCFC Chief Operating Officer Matt Goodman said in a news release obtained by Reuters.

The chocolate company’s logo will appear on the left sleeve of NYCFC’s home and away jersey for the 2021 MLS season, which is scheduled to kick off on April 16.

MLS, the top-tier North American league, has allowed clubs to obtain sleeve sponsorship for the 2021 season in a bid to help them redeem revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The original prize of a full partner package includes in-stadium and digital placements that will provide high-valued exposure during home games, marketing consultation, digital packaging on club channels and other assets.

NYCFC said the partnership will allow the local chocolate company to reach millions of fans.

More than 50 small businesses from across New York City entered the “City Assist Contest” and entrants had to explain their business plan and detail how the partnership would help them get back on their feet amid the pandemic.

Sol Cacao is co-owned by two brothers whose grandmother was a chocolatier in Trinidad & Tobago and they are using their heritage to bring their unique craftsmanship to the Bronx, an area that was hit especially hard by the pandemic.

“For NYCFC and Mastercard to launch this small businesses partnership program in our city after the devastating impact of the pandemic is another example of NYCFC’s off the field leadership and commitment to supporting its community,” Lisa Sorin, president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, said.

“We’re delighted for Sol Cacao to receive this kind of recognition and hope that soccer fans across the city and country will be exposed to their delicious chocolate, made right here in the Bronx.”


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