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.

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3 Responses

  1. It’s Alaska Airlines, not Alaskan Air, and it’s clear Alaska Airlines will be on the front of the jersey – whether it’s just the word Alaska, the full Alaska Airlines, or the Nanook dude on their liveries remains to be seen. Horizon is a regional airline whereas Alaska isn’t.

    Also noteworthy – the Timbers play their final home game of the season tonight before PGE Park gets renovated (and a new name) – and they averaged 10,726 fans by my calculations during the regular season this season (10,849 including Open Cup games, and 10,656 including all exhibitions at their home stadium – not including the Man City game at Merlo). Not too bad for D2.

  2. John:

    Thanks for the correction and updated information on PGE Park. As far as the actually logo on the jersey, it certainly appears that it will be some version of the Alaska Airlines on the jersey, but there certainly have been some rumblings about whether it will ultimately say Horizon.

  3. I haven’t seen or heard any rumblings about that at all despite reading a lot of material on the subject. The Alaska Airlines inflatable plane was at the game and the owner and the airline representative traded a slab of wood and a model airplane before the game in a show of mutuality. I would be shocked if Horizon ultimately ended up on the kit.

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