Seattle Sounders FC Searching for Future Naming Rights Partner

Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders FC recently announced that it is seeking a future naming rights partner for an agreement that will extend to the club’s jerseys. 

Earlier this week, the Sounders announced that they had enlisted WME | IMG in a search for a new naming rights partner for a package “that includes the club’s jersey front, matchday pitch and training facility.” The Microsoft gaming console Xbox has had its branding on the jerseys, as well as the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field, since the club’s inaugural 2009 MLS season but its agreement with the Sounders is set to expire after the 2018 campaign.

As it stands, the Sounders are going to work with WME | IMG to explore their options as they seek a naming rights deal beyond 2018. Given that the club has not only been successful on the field in recent years, but continues to be one of the most well-supported MLS clubs in terms of attendance, the process could be an interesting one for the Sounders. More from GeekWire:

The Sounders, with WME’s guidance, say they want to explore all available options for a new deal, that also includes another extension with Microsoft. The club is the first MLS franchise to work with WME, which recently helped lead naming rights deals for the Boston Celtics jersey patch — GE paid $7 million per year for that — and is working with the Denver Broncos on stadium naming rights.

“The Sounders are offering a unique package which adds additional layers to an already attractive rights package,” Sean Barror, Senior Vice President, Naming Rights, IMG, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with them to identify a strong partner that will help further accelerate the brand’s growth.”

Surely there will be interested sponsors, as the Sounders consistently lead the MLS in attendance and boast one of the more robust fanbases in all of North American professional sports. The MLS itself is also gaining popularity and viewership.

Sports Business Daily noted that the package valuation could be in the eight figure range; most clubs generate $3-to-$4 million per year on jersey sponsorship deals. That number balloons for higher-profile teams — for example, Japanese tech giant Rakuten pays $58 million per year to have its logo on Barcelona jerseys.

The Sounders’ trend of strong attendance figures has continued into this season. After the 21st week of play, Seattle had a per-game average of 42,726 fans–second in the league to only Atlanta–and its overall total of 427,263 was leading MLS.

Image courtesy Seattle Sounders. 

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