On January 29, 2009 the San Jose Earthquakes announced a three year deal with Amway, for a reported $2-3 million per season. According to reports, all San Jose apparel, including game jerseys, would immediately begin carrying a prominently placed Amway logo. With the deal, San Jose became the 11th MLS side to announce a primary jersey sponsorship.
We’ve previously discussed Seattle’s $4,000,000 per year deal with Microsoft. In 2008, DC United inked a long term deal with Volkswagen for a reported $3.7 million annually and the Chicago Fire announced a three year deal with Best Buy. Best Buy, Volkswagen and Microsoft are well known commercial entities with an international footprint and an established pedigree. MLS fans were elated when such prominent companies invested in the League.
Despite its long history, soccer fans reacted differently to Amway’s entry into U.S. soccer. In the minds of some, the Amway deal joined Herbalife’s five year sponsorship of the Galaxy and RSL’s groundbreaking deal with Xango by adding another multi-level-marketing enterprise to the League’s list of sponsors. These critics believe that such sponsors besmirch the reputation of MLS and give fodder to mainstream media critics.
I take the view that sponsorship money is a hot commodity right now and fans should be ecstatic that an internationally recognized company is investing in the League. Amway has deals with the Orlando Magic and AC Milan. Given some of the sponsors of teams around the world, Amway is no better or no worse. Microsoft, Glidden and Comex are fine, but be grateful for the investment, and go buy so makeup!