DC United Finds a New Sponsor

propaneThe biggest business story of the day comes from the Nation’s Capitol, where DC United announced a jersey sponsorship deal with government contractor Leidos.  Per Steve Goff, the deal is reported at 3-5 years and for a figure close to the fee formerly paid by VW which was just shy of $3 million.  Per Mr. Goff, “the Leidos logo will appear throughout RFK Stadium and all of the team’s marketing and media properties”.  The jersey with the logo will go on sale starting on March 8 for the team opener.

This is a coup for DC United, which manages to keep the income stream of a jersey sponsor despite the end of the VW relationship. Leidos is not a household name, but it is an American defense company that provides scientific, engineering, systems integration, and technical services. The company does billions in revenue every year and employs more than 20k people..  The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

If reports are correct, 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.  In 2012 the Chicago Fire signed a multi-year deal with Quaker worth slightly less than that. Recall that at the end of 2013, RSL signed a 10 year, $30 million deal with LifeVantage that starts in 2014.

Although many fans associate jersey sponsors with consumer products life Quaker and Bimbo or (at least in MLS) with MLM schemes like Advocare and Herbalife.  However, Leidos is an enormous company with substantial resources.  It is difficult to see what Leidos gets from the deal other than additional name recognition and opportunities for community outreach with the team.  From the official presser: “Soccer is a growing, global sport and we are a growing company with our eyes on the future,” said John Jumper, Leidos Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. “This sponsorship will help enable us to get exposure not only locally, but throughout the country and internationally.”


2 Responses

  1. As a DC United supporter, I’m pretty happy about this new sponsorship deal. Leidos is the former SAIC, which in the DC area (and in other areas of the country, including San Diego where it was formerly based) has great name recognition. Since SAIC renamed themselves Leidos and spun off part of the company into a new company named SAIC, the company has obviously felt that it needs more name recognition under the new name. So, the deal features a sponsor with the best of both worlds: on the one hand, a steady business in a market (government contracting) that is big in the DC area, yet on the other hand a company that needs the recognition that a sports sponsorship can provide. A real win for United.

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