Soccer Business Bits: VW Ads, Portland Billboards & More

For the first time that I can remember, MLS sent out a purely commercial e-mail today in the form of a VW advertisement.  The e-mail was presumably sent to all who have registered their e-mail with MLS.  The e-mail made no reference to soccer (other than the sender address and an official partner note) and simply included a number of lease deals for the longtime MLS automobile partner.  This represents a fairly brazen (and arguably offensive)  marketing effort by MLS.  Sending out e-mails about deals at the MLS Store, or on tickets would be pretty standard in the sports industry, but a sole purpose sales e-mail for a commerical partner seems slightly over the top.  The language “you are receiving this e-mail becaue of your interest in Volkswagen” is simply not true and these e-mails risk alienating already over-spammed fans.

Elsewhere, MLS Rumors posts about the billboard marketing campaign in Portland.  The ads feature Timbers’ fans in a series of poses and prominently features the Timbers logo.  The ads are part of the “We are Timbers” campaign and represent an impressive effort to combine affordable marketing with a catchy slogan and fan involvment.  The team is also just days away from opening its team store in downtown Portland.   Ultimately, the team’s flagship store will be at PGE Park.

Finally, the Re-entry draft is set for today.  This will be the first go for this process (which was made part of new CBA).  Given that free agency was such an important component of the negotiations, it will be interesting to see how teams handle the new framework.  Veteran players will get to test their value after finishing their contracts with their current clubs.