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USA TODAY Sports Images, Major League Soccer launch official MLS online photo store

E-commerce photo experience for fans powered by Brand Affinity Technologies

NEW YORK, March 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- USA TODAY Sports Images and Major League Soccer (MLS) today officially launched mls.fanphotos.com, the official online photo product store for MLS fans.

USA TODAY Sports Images

MLS and USA TODAY Sports Images, the exclusive photo provider for MLS and its commercial arm, Soccer United Marketing (SUM), are partnering with Brand Affinity Technologies (Brand Affinity) to operate mls.fanphotos.com. Brand Affinity has extensive experience operating online photo stores with teams in the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball.

The partnership will grant Brand Affinity the rights to produce products across 11 categories.  Products will include reprints, greeting cards, mugs, ornaments, magnets, coasters and other compelling photo-enhanced items.

"We're excited to have a vehicle that will showcase the captivating work done by USA TODAY Sports Images, and to be able to offer our fans the opportunity to purchase products using those images," said Maribeth Towers, senior vice president of consumer products, MLS.

"Major League Soccer has been an ideal partner for us since day one," said Bruce Odle, President of USA TODAY Sports Images. "They're progressive thinkers with bold ideas on engaging fans and growing their brand, and we're excited to now partner with the innovators at Brand Affinity to shape a brand new approach for creating and marketing league approved photo products."

USA TODAY Sports Images is the largest dedicated sports photography service in North America, covering over 10,000 events each year with a network of more than 300 professional photographers. In addition to the more than 100 local and national media properties within the USA TODAY Sports Media Group universe, USA TODAY Sports Images also provides images to many of the top media companies in the world, either directly or through a worldwide distribution agreement with Reuters Media.

About the USA TODAY Sports Media Group:
The USA TODAY Sports Media Group encompasses all sports initiatives across USA TODAY Sports and Gannett's more than 100 well-known local media brands. It also includes the sports photography wire service USA TODAY Sports Images; leading high school sports destination  USA TODAY High School Sports; Sports On Earth, a joint venture with MLB Advanced Media dedicated to great sports writing in all its forms; the social news hub For The Win, and the hundreds of sites within USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties such as thebiglead.com and mixed martial arts site MMAjunkie.com, among others. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).

About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. Major League Soccer's 19th season will feature 19 clubs each playing 34 regular-season matches. Those clubs include the Chicago Fire; Chivas USA; Colorado Rapids; Columbus Crew; D.C. United; FC Dallas; Houston Dynamo; Montreal Impact; New York Red Bulls; New England Revolution; Philadelphia Union; Portland Timbers; Real Salt Lake; San Jose Earthquakes; Seattle Sounders FC; 2013 MLS Cup Champion Sporting Kansas City; Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Expansion teams New York City FC and Orlando City Soccer Club will begin play in 2015. For more information about MLS, log on to the league's official website at www.MLSsoccer.com.   

About Soccer United Marketing
Founded in 2002, Soccer United Marketing (SUM) is the preeminent soccer business company in North America. SUM holds the exclusive rights to the most important soccer properties in the region, including: all commercial rights to Major League Soccer; the United States Soccer Federation; promotional and marketing rights to Mexican National Team games played in the United States, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup™. SUM also manages promotional and marketing rights in the United States for Mexico's most popular sports team, Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Chivas).

SUM 's corporate portfolio also includes MLS Digital Properties, the only soccer advertising network of its kind, covering all facets of the sport in the U.S., and which allows advertisers to reach millions of soccer fans via online advertising and sponsorships campaigns. These global properties are represented by SUM's slogan: One Sport. One Company.™ For more information, please visit www.SUMworld.com.

About Brand Affinity Technologies
Brand Affinity Technologies, founded in 2007, is the technology and marketing services company focused on activating, engaging, and monetizing fans. Brand Affinity's offerings power highly-targeted and interactive 360° fan-centric experiences and promotions. Its partners include thousands of celebrities, athletes, professional sports teams and leagues, and event promoters. Brand Affinity Technologies provides over 100 sports teams, entertainment venues, and advertising brands with innovative fan engagement services, including fan photography and e-commerce solutions.  For more information, visit http://www.brandaffinity.net.

Major League Soccer

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140312/DC81926LOGO-a

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140312/DC81926LOGO-b

SOURCE USA TODAY Sports Media Group

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