Soccer Business Bits: MLS Merchandise Sales, Posing in Briefs & More

The Sports Business Journal is reporting on MLS first quarter merchandise sales.  The article includes a number of interesting tidbits, including that the Union has already sold seven figures worth of merchandise this year and it is expected to reach eight figures.  The article also reports that MLS has tripled its reach into soccer speciality stores while adding to its footprint with big box retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.  The article also reports that 1,000 MLS fans have purchased $249 Zune MP3 players with MLS logos.

We often discuss on this site that any exposure for soccer is good exposure, but this recent Vanity Fair spread stretches that argument.  Calling to mind a number of previous unfortunate soccer photos spreads that include American soccer players. More importantly, the magazine includes a number of features on the World Cup that will bring the beautiful game to the American mainstream.

Finally, MLS’s annual mini-tourney Futbolito is kicking off.  The 13 event tournament, presented by league sponsor Panasonic, attracted 50,000 players of all ages last year.  The competition is now eight years old.  Associate level partners include adidas, Degree Deodorant, Fox Sports en Español, Glidden Paints, Makita, NAPA Auto Parts, Pepsi, The Home Depot, Visa, Volkswagen and Xbox 360

Soccer Business Bits: TV in Chicago, Going Green, Donovan Sponsorship & More

Just a couple of quick hits today.  In Chicago, the Fire announced Comcast SportsNet Chicago as their official television broadcast partner for 2010 and Univision Radio as its official radio partner.  All locally broadcast television games will be in HD.  The arrangement includes a pre-game and post-game show.  There will also be English language and Spanish language broadcasts over the internet. Radio 1200 will have the games in Spanish over the air.

Keeping with the Fire, Chicago announced a “Fire Goes Green” campaign for its April 24th match against Chicago.  As part of the initiative, the Fire will plant 40 trees,  provide re-usable grocery bags to their fans, purchase energy credits to set-off carbon use at the game and distribute recycling bins around the stadium.  The efforts is part of the Fire’s Earth Day celebration and will also include special foot menus and other “green” distributions during the match.

Galaxy star Landon Donovan appears to have a new sponsorship partner.  Donovan joined Yankee captain Derek Jeter and Falcon QB at the Gillette EA Sports Champions of Gaming event in New York.  The effort was part of Gillette’s showcasing of its newest razor.

Elsewhere, AC Milan’s Summer tour now officially includes second division, and MLS expansion candidate, Montreal.  According to the team’s website, the Italian power will visit Olympic Stadium on June 2, for a friendly.  The game will be preceded by another match with a Serie A side, as Fiorentina will visit the Impact on May 23.  This is a bold move for the lower division club and certainly makes a statement about the team’s ambitions.  Would a match against AC Milan make the perfect stage to announce entry into MLS?