The DC United Lawsuit: Another Update

We’ve posted a couple of times over the last few months about the litigation involving DC United.  The gist of the lawsuit is that the plaintiffs (Jones and Mair) are alleging that DC United (Macfarlane Chang DC Soccer, LLC) breached a contract with the plaintiffs regarding the location of potential DC United Sponsors.  Specifically, the plaintiffs allege they were entitled to a 22-25% commission on the deal to make VW the presenting sponsor of DC United.

Based on the pleadings, the alleged contract originated with an oral agreement between the plaintiffs and Matt Homonoff, United’s Manager of Corporate Partnerships.  The Complaint also cites to an e-mail from Homonoff (attached to the Complaint) that says that the plaintiff (Jones) is “representing DC United in regarding to our pursuit of Official Corporate Partners for the 2007 Major League Soccer season”.  Plaintiffs allege that the unspecified oral representations and the confirming e-mail represent a binding contract entitling them to a percentage of the VW sponsorship.

Some key dates are coming up in the litigation, with the discovery process set to conclude on March 1, 2010.  At that point the parties will have the opportunity to file Motions for Summary Judgment in an effort to have the case decided prior to trial.  The most recent filings in the case involve efforts to control and protect privileged and confidential information.

The lawsuit is most notable for some of the insight it provides into the efforts to secure the VW sponsorship for United.  Initial contact was made through a cold call e-mail and included very basic information about MLS.  There are a number of spelling and syntax errors throughout the documents.  The presentation also relies heavily on the possibility of a DC United Stadium naming rights opportunity.

Some interesting business related notes are also in the documents:  According to the sales pitch:

1.  Jersey sponsorship would produce 8 minutes and 40 seconds of exposure per game

2.  Midfield sign board would produce 10 minutes and 40 seconds exposure per game

3.  Jersey would provide 6 seconds of legible exposure per local news telecast of the team and based on sampling, this would equate to 12 minutes and 8 seconds of exposure.

4.  DC is called the “premier” US soccer team, but the presence of Beckham in MLS is prominent and the documents say that the signing equates to MLS saying, “We Mean Business”

5.  The proposal is 3 years at $2 mill per year for the jersey and 3 years at $1 million for community sponsorships

We will continue to monitor the case as it moves forward.

One Response

  1. Helpful Kim answered:You’ll get more coevgare with an agent, so it might sell more quickly. Have you considered an agency like Help-U-Sell that lets you choose the level of service you’d like and has a set fee rather than a percentage? It’s worth researching. It won’t hurt to put a sign out and an ad in the paper to see if you get much response . Good luck!

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