Soccer Business Bits: Portland Jersey Sponsor, Dallas Residency

One of the big business stories of the day was the announcement that Alaska Airlines signed a multi-year deal to serve as the jersey sponsor of the Portland Timbers.  The airline will be the first domestic carrier to sponsor an MLS team.   The arrangement includes multi level digital advertising at the renovated PGE Park (likely to be renamed before the season begins) and a role in the Timbers’ youth set-up.  Alaska Airlines employs approximately 2,300  employees in the Portland area.  What remains unknown, is whether the Timbers will wear Alaska Airlines on their jerseys or their affiliated company Horizon.

Elsewhere, there are multiple reports that FC Dallas is close to setting a full academy system at its Pizza Hut Park complex.  The team will partner with a local high school to provide classroom instruction for the residency program. Over the last few months, we have seen teams start consider moving to the residency model and Dallas appears close to setting up a full program.  The local high school is one that already has a relationship with the team as it was involved in the process of funding the fields at PHP.

Finally, it appears that David Beckham is close to completing his return from an achilles injury suffered in the Spring.  Beckham missed the end of the AC Milan season, the World Cup and most of the MLS season.  His return should mean a bump in attendance both home and away and should provide some marquee tv matchups down the stretch for the leagues tv partners.