Brand Strategy

Major League Soccer wants to be the sport—and the sound—of summer

The league’s new campaign features a custom song by Latin Grammy-award winner Don Elektron and Afro-Indigenous-Venezuelan singer and producer Gotopo.
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Screenshot via MLS/YouTube

4 min read

Last year, MLS got Leo Messi. This year, the league landed artists and music producers Don Elektron and Gotopo.

Don Elektron, a Latin Grammy-award winner, and Gotopo, an up-and-coming Afro-Indigenous-Venezuelan singer and producer, aren’t playing for the league—they’re playing music for it. MLS first worked with the duo when the league used their song “Sacúdete” for the campaign promoting the 2024 season, which kicked off in February. Now, MLS is running the summer edition of that campaign with an original track that Don Elektron and Gotopo created just for the league.

With their latest campaign, the MLS marketing team wants the original song—as well as the league—to be stuck in people’s heads all summer long.

“This year, we really had a specific intention, which was to continue to create this association between MLS and Latin pop music,” Jesse Perl, the league’s VP of brand and integrated marketing, told Marketing Brew. “We think it’s such an ownable sound of MLS that’s there authentically and organically, and as Latin pop music becomes a bigger and bigger part of mainstream culture, it’s really about staking our claim that this is who we’ve always been.”

Summertime synergy

The new MLS ad, which started running late last month, is called “Summer is Calling.” It’s part of the league’s “Our Soccer is Calling” campaign, which rolled out earlier this year. That campaign, in turn, is an evolution of MLS’s “Our Soccer” brand platform from 2018, according to Perl.

“Summer is Calling,” a 30-second spot, features the original MLS song “Mi Gente lo Siente,” which plays over footage of players from the league in action, as well as shots of the artists performing. It’s running throughout the summer on MLS channels including MLS Season Pass on Apple TV and in stadiums, as well as across paid and social media. The song is also available on music streaming platforms.

MLS didn’t set out with the goal of using custom music in the campaign, Perl said, though many brands have been experimenting with songs of their own. But when the league first collaborated with Don Elektron and Gotopo for “Our Soccer is Calling,” there was “such a natural synergy” that it just felt right to have them make the next song, Perl said.

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The MLS team spoke with the artists about their vision for the campaign, but also wanted to let them go in their own creative direction with “Mi Gente lo Siente,” according to Perl. If all goes well, the track will be a “summer hit,” he said.

Make some noise

Making a certified banger wasn’t the only goal for the current chapter of the campaign. Primarily, MLS is using the song and the ad to build association between the league and the summertime, Perl said. Considering the amount of international soccer going down this summer—the Euros, Copa América, and the Olympics—it’s no small task.

Perl isn’t particularly concerned. “Here in North America, there isn’t international club soccer, and most of the North American [men’s] sports, other than MLB, are not in season,” he said. “It’s a really important and great opportunity for us to make sure that MLS is showing up, and that we’re top of mind, because we’ve got this runway that we can own in North American sports.”

In addition to brand awareness and perception, the league is also hoping to drive viewership on Apple TV, Perl said.

As for the custom song, it’s hardly out of left field. Music has long been part of the MLS brand, and part of “Our Soccer” in particular; 2 Chainz was involved with the brand platform at its start in 2018, the same year he headlined the MLS All-Star Concert.

The league has also worked with artists including Miguel and Prince Royce, Perl said, and Messi’s arrival has brought out music stars including Selena Gomez, Camila Cabello, and Peso Pluma to matches. Between the recent Messi hype and MLS’s significant Hispanic audience, leaning into Latin music is a natural choice.

“We do believe that MLS and Latin pop music are on this very similar, interesting trajectory, as the NBA and hip-hop in the ’90s,” Perl said. “Latin pop music is only going to continue to drive culture forward, so for us to be on the bleeding edge of that is right where we want to be.”

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