MLS Sponsorships: The Name on the Front of the Jersey

san-joseOn January 29, 2009 the San Jose Earthquakes announced a three year deal with Amway, for a reported $2-3 million per season.  According to reports, all San Jose apparel, including game jerseys, would immediately begin carrying a prominently placed Amway logo.  With the deal, San Jose became the 11th MLS side to announce a primary jersey sponsorship.

We’ve previously discussed Seattle’s $4,000,000 per year deal with Microsoft. In 2008, DC United inked a long term deal with Volkswagen for a reported $3.7 million annually and the Chicago Fire announced a three year deal with Best Buy.  Best Buy, Volkswagen and Microsoft are well known commercial entities with an international footprint and an established pedigree.  MLS fans were elated when such prominent companies invested in the League.

Despite its long history, soccer fans reacted differently to Amway’s entry into U.S. soccer.  In the minds of some, the Amway deal joined Herbalife’s five year sponsorship of the Galaxy and RSL’s groundbreaking deal with Xango by adding another multi-level-marketing enterprise to the League’s list of sponsors.  These critics believe that such sponsors besmirch the reputation of MLS and give fodder to mainstream media critics.

I take the view that sponsorship money is a hot commodity right now and fans should be ecstatic that an internationally recognized company is investing in the League.  Amway has deals with the Orlando Magic and AC Milan.  Given some of the sponsors of teams around the world, Amway is no better or no worse.  xboxMicrosoft, Glidden and Comex are fine, but be grateful for the investment, and go buy so makeup!

Around MLS: San Jose Announces Marketing Campaign

san-joseJust weeks after announcing a sponsorship deal with Amway Global, the Earthquakes have announced their 2009 marketing campaign.  The campaign will combine 4 television ads, billboards and bus advertising.  The Quakes will highlight Joe Cannon and Darren Huckerby through all of the mediums utilized by the campaign.

San Jose also announced a new radio partnership with KNBR 680/1050, a sports radio station in Northern California.  The partnership will include advertising, the production of a daily 5 minute Earthquakes report and promotional activities.  According to the press release, there will also be an increased Earthquakes’ presence on the station’s website (not yet apparent).

Local media marketing is always important.  Simply getting MLS on the radar screen of mainstream media and the denizens of sports talk radio is a significant challenge.  Seattle has done this quite well (Freddy L. was trotted out over all the local airwaves when he was signed), while the Revs have gained a foothold thanks to WEEI’s “Planet Mikey“.  Generally, however MLS teams struggle for recognition in local sports talk, so San Jose’s deal with KNBR seems like a good idea.

In stadium news, Steve Goff is reporting that DC United has narrowed its potential Maryland stadium sites to three.  According to Goff, United will submit a contract on one of the sites soon.  Goff also reports that the stadium will be planned with transit in mind.united

The sooner the stadium site is selected, the quicker the process of securing approvals and funding can begin.  As important as RFK has been to the League and U.S. Soccer, it is time for United to get its own home.