On Monday evening, Ed Sherman of Craine’s, broke the news that the Chicago Fire were nearing a $1.3-1.5 million dollar per year jersey sponsorship agreement with Quaker Oats. If the report is accurate, the new deal is a great score for a Fire franchise that went without a jersey sponsor in 2011 after Best Buy ended its relationship before the season started last year.
The finances of the deal are seemingly on the low side of those in place around the league. On January 12, 2011, the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer announced a four year, $12 million dollar deal with Mexican food conglomerate Bimbo. However, given how far MLS jersey deals have come (even in this down market), and that teams like FC Dallas and Colorado are still searching, a deal with Quaker would seem to be a winner for the Fire. Last season, the BBC reported that seven EPL clubs carry sponsorship deals valued at less than $1.6 million dollars. According to a recent analysis conducted by SPORT + MARKT, the 18 remaining teams in La Liga (after Barcelona and Real Madrid are removed), average less than $2.5 million per jersey deal. Similarly, with all 20 teams accounted for in France’s Ligue 1, the average jersey sponsorship is valued at less than $4 million dollars per team.
The Quaker Oats Company is one of the brands owned by PepsiCo and is based in Chicago. A deal with Quaker would be a perfect fit for the Fire. Quaker Oats is a local company with national cache that will be easily recognized at every venue around the country. At the same time, this would seem to be a strange marriage for Quaker. While some of the other PepsiCo brands would seem to be natural fits for the soccer demographic, Quaker Oats, despite its array of subsidiary brands, seemingly skews towards an older group.