Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (NYSE: YGE) ("Yingli Green Energy" or the "Company"), and U.S. Soccer today announced a multi-year agreement that establishes Yingli Green Energy as the first Official Renewable Energy Partner of U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Men's, Women's, and Youth National Teams through the end of 2014.
Yingli Green Energy, a leading solar energy company and one of the world's largest vertically integrated photovoltaic ("PV") manufacturers, markets its products under the brand "Yingli Solar." During the next four years, Yingli Green Energy will support U.S. Soccer's ongoing efforts to develop the game at all levels.
The partnership will launch during tonight's U.S. Men's National Team match versus Mexico at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia at 9 p.m. ET, which airs live on ESPN2, ESPN3.com and Univision. Jurgen Klinsmann will also make his debut as the U.S. Men's National Team head coach.
Klinsmann takes over the U.S. team a little more than a year after a dramatic run through the FIFA(TM) World Cup 2010 in South Africa, culminating in a Round of 16 match against Ghana that garnered 19.4 million American viewers.
The partnership comes at a time when the U.S. Women's National Team finished an impressive run at the 2011 FIFA(TM) Women's World Cup in Germany, capturing the attention of millions of fans stateside, evidenced by a record-setting TV audience of 13.5 million for the final match against Japan.
The notable growth of solar power throughout the U.S. market in recent years charts a similar trajectory as the National Teams' popularity. Overall, average attendance at U.S. Men's National Team matches has increased 60 percent since 2007 to 47,674 in 2011, with top solar energy states such as California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania playing host to key U.S. National Team events during that time. Nationwide, solar PV installations in the U.S. have also grown considerably by 527 percent to reach 878 MW nationwide.
"Soccer is the world's most popular game and we are extremely excited to be partnering with U.S. Soccer, an organization that has achieved tremendous success and similar global recognition in recent years," said Mr. Robert Petrina, Managing Director of Yingli Americas, a fully-owned subsidiary of Yingli Green Energy. "We consider this association to be the best platform for building solar energy awareness across the country. We recently announced that we are on track to capture 15 percent of the North American solar market in 2011, and today we're reinforcing our commitment to build a lasting brand and a recognizable local presence."
Yingli Green Energy has committed to working with U.S. Soccer on a philanthropic initiative that aims to provide solar energy for local athletic centers in disadvantaged communities across the U.S. The program will be operational throughout the duration of the Yingli Green Energy and U.S. Soccer's partnership, and is designed to be a lasting legacy for future generations to value environmental sustainability.
"We are looking forward to our new partnership with Yingli Green Energy through 2014," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "Working closely with a leading renewable energy company will give us the opportunity to enhance our social and environmental activities through a number of different initiatives over the next few years."
"This is a special time for soccer in America, when the soccer community is energized about the game's future," said Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. "We are similarly excited about the potential for the solar industry, and we are pleased to be partnering with U.S. Soccer to help advance opportunities for both soccer and renewable energy throughout this important market."
Yingli Green Energy has made a significant global commitment to soccer in recent years, including official partnerships with the FIFA(TM) World Cup 2010 and 2014, and Germany's largest and most successful soccer club, FC Bayern Munich. A key component of these partnerships centers on the ability to utilize the power of soccer to help advance the Company's commitment to social responsibility.