Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) in partnership with Major League Soccer (MLS) today announced that Chipotle will be the Official Fast-Casual Mexican Restaurant of MLS and 12 MLS Clubs. The sponsorship will be Chipotle’s largest single sports partnership and will feature promotional programs with 12 teams, individual players, and programs across the entire league.
“At the core of our effort to change the way people think about and eat fast food is our commitment to finding better, more sustainable sources for all of the ingredients we use,” said Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s chief marketing and development officer. “That value is one that is often shared by people with an active lifestyle. This partnership with MLS will allow us to further engage consumers in a sport we have long supported through grassroots efforts.”
Throughout the 2014 season, Chipotle will work with MLS and the 12 clubs by executing unique promotions and activations to reach MLS fans across the country. Additionally, during the AT&T MLS All-Star Week in August, Chipotle will sponsor the inaugural Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game featuring the nation’s top Homegrown players from MLS Club rosters. Homegrown players from across the league will be chosen by MLS to participate in the game. Details on how MLS fans will be able to watch the game will be released at a later date.
“Chipotle is an incredible brand and has truly embraced MLS’ aspirational position for millions of youth soccer players,” said David Wright, senior vice president of global sponsorship for MLS. “We love the idea of the Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game and we look forward to Chipotle playing an important role in continuing to grow the sport of soccer in this country for years to come.”
In addition to the Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game, Chipotle will also feature an exceptional athlete, boy or girl, during 10 home games per MLS Club as the Chipotle Youth Homegrown Athlete. Each athlete will receive four tickets to the game, special recognition during the game, a chance to meet players and coaches, dinner at Chipotle with his/her team, and the opportunity to host a fundraiser for his/her team at their favorite Chipotle location. Chipotle and each MLS Club will also host free soccer clinics for up to 200 kids utilizing MLS players and coaches to teach soccer fundamentals.
Omar Gonzalez, LA Galaxy Defender, two-time MLS Cup Champion and prominent member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, will represent MLS as the first spokesperson of this unique partnership. Gonzalez will play a vital role in the Homegrown campaign from being featured in anthem and skills videos to promoting the partnership on his social media channels.
To kick-off the partnership, Chipotle will host a March to Soccer promotion in the 12 MLS markets to celebrate the beginning of the MLS season. Soccer fans who come to Chipotle wearing their local MLS Club gear on the date of the team’s home opener can receive a buy-one-get-one deal. The dates and markets for Chipotle’s March to Soccer events are below:
- FC Dallas: March 8
- Houston Dynamo: March 8
- LA Galaxy: March 8
- Portland Timbers: March 8
- Seattle Sounders FC: March 8
- San Jose Earthquakes: March 11
- Philadelphia Union: March 15
- Sporting Kansas City: March 15
- Colorado Rapids: March 22
- Columbus Crew: March 22
- New England Revolution: March 22
- Chicago Fire: March 23
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience. Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using ingredients that are not only fresh, but that—where possible—are sustainably grown and Responsibly Raised™ with respect for the animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards. This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within. Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and currently operates about 1,600 restaurants including six ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants, and is an investor in an entity that owns and operates one Pizzeria Locale.
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