It was announced today that Liga MX has banked a new title sponsor. Starting with the upcoming Apertura, the competition will be known as the La Liga Bancomer. It's a move that's supposed to increase BBVA Bancomer's (known as BBVA Compass in the United States) presence and clean up Liga MX's violent image.
MLS has had it's share of title sponsors. AT&T is still the title sponsor of the annual MLS All-Star Game, MLS First Kick has had Dick's Sporting Goods as a title sponsor, and Breathe Right strips were a title sponsor back when the MLS All Star Game featured a three on three competition.
It's a precarious position that MLS finds itself in, but it could be time for MLS to consider a title sponsor for the league as a whole. At the time of it's founding, MLS had to convince the American public it was not just another regional soccer league. MLS like Major League Baseball conveyed a measure of authority. However it took MLS some time to actually live up to it's major league aspirations.
The college football bowl system is full of title sponsors. In some cases the title sponsor has completely taken over as in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and the Capitol One Bowl, in others there have been presenting sponsors like the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and in yet others bowls have been conceived as a corporately named bowl without a native name.
The problem in the bowl game example is that bowls have a large deal to do with tourism, and taking away any sort of place identifier makes it difficult to market the area as well as the bowl. Without looking it up, not many know where the Beef o'Brady's Bowl is held. And if one hasn't been following the title sponsor deals, they might not know the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl isn't a new addition to the bowl lineup.
That's what MLS risks in getting a title sponsor. The Barclays Premier League has the luxury of sounding just like its native name English Premier League. So much so that the sponsor name is usually only used in an official capacity. Same as will likely happen with La Liga Bancomer, it'll still be known colloquially as Liga MX.
Citi League Soccer doesn't have the same flow to it. It would likely become something like The Citi League or AT&T League Soccer. Is MLS confident enough in its top tier status to drop major from the name? Or confident enough in soccer's place amongst the other sports leagues to drop soccer from the title?
Rest assured, people with greater understanding of branding that I are mulling over this very question right now. In the meantime it's worth watching out for, especially as it's widely known that MLS will likely get a new logo next season.