Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Finding A Sponsor For Sponsorless MLS Teams

Currently, with the introduction of the Philadelphia Union, MLS currently has 5 teams that are currently do not bear a sponsor on their jerseys. Philly appears to be close to naming their sponsor, which would bring the number back down to 4: Colorado, New England, Dallas and Kansas City. Colorado, while they search for a sponsor, did the right thing and removed the “Colorado” from their jerseys, leaving a blank, crisp look to their team. However, New England, Dallas and Kansas City continue to have their team name on the chest of their jerseys. Most people would agree that in soccer, while some may hate the corporate nature of putting a sponsor on your team’s jersey, it is the most valuable piece of real estate for a team to be sponsored, with thousands and sometimes millions of jerseys being sold with your corporate logo on it provides infinite public exposure.

So, let’s have a little fun and pick some sponsors that would look good across the chests of the Rapids, FCD, the Revs and the Wizards. I’ve listed out some possibilities of local companies or companies that have a big local presence and, in the end, select a best pick for a sponsor for each team.

Coors – Liquor sponsors are not allowed in MLS, but beer sponsors are. Nothing says Colorado like Coors, but Budweiser (MLS sponsor) may balk at this
Continental – started out in Denver, still has a big presence
Frontier – another airline based in Denver
Lockheed-Martin – huge presence in Denver
Chipotle – headquarters in Denver, national brand that would be recognizable worldwide
Qwest – already have naming rights with field where Seattle Sounders play, but lots of Denver offices
Pepsi – Already a MLS sponsor and have naming rights to Pepsi Center in Denver. Would be a good match
Invesco – local company, naming rights at Broncos’ stadium

Best Fit: Pepsi. This would be a match made in heaven for MLS, as a league-wide sponsor adorns the chest of a team in a locale where they already have a great presence in sports.

New England
Samuel Adams – local brewery whose popularity can go up even more with a Revs partnership
Fidelity – huge investment firm, but with the bailouts, may not be able to sponsor a team
Kraft – Robert Kraft is team owner, very confusing that this hasn’t happened already
New Balance – Adidas would probably flip out with this
Gillette – already adorn the field that the Revs play at, would be good to continue the partnership
TD Bank – adorn the Celtics and Bruins’ stadium, a bank name that has become popular nationwide
Liberty Mutual – Everyone knows Liberty Mutual, but probably not in a position to sponsor a team
Bain Capital – Another I-bank that may not be in a position to sponsor

Best Fit: Kraft. Owner owns the team, #1 in its market, of course has the money to invest and is already invested in soccer… as perfect a fit as there can be.

Compuware – moved their headquarters to Dallas from Detroit, founder owns 2 hockey teams; could make the move to soccer
Exxon – Definitely have the money to invest, could be great for FCD
Chevron – See Exxon.
AT&T – MLS sponsor, based in Texas, national brand
Texas Instruments – based in Texas, national brand, could be a chance to expand their exposure
Blockbuster – on rough times right now, but could be a chance to grow their brand again
Chili’s – based in Dallas, instantly recognizable
American – based in Dallas, would be great to partner with team especially with discounts for FCD fans to travel to away games
Southwest – based in Dallas, low-budget airline that fans would love to use to travel to away games

Best Fit: AT&T. FC Dallas has a ton of great fits, but another league sponsor could be the one to help the Hoops as well.

Garmin – runs the GPS market in America, would grow their brand
H&R Block – would be interesting to partner with the Wizards; likely could not use their trademark green block on jersey
AMC Theaters – interesting combination that would be good for team and league
Crayola – likely not a possibility, but Crayola is based in KC
SprintNextel – most of their sponsorship is in NASCAR, but is based in KC and would be great to have a huge partner like SprintNextel helping the team.

Best Fit: Garmin. A surprise pick from this bunch, but Garmin would be great to help themselves as well as the Wizards grow their brand in the U.S. Garmin has a lot of momentum and could see their market grow internationally should the Wizards improve.

So, there you have it. Pepsi, Kraft, AT&T and Garmin. The Rapids, Revs, Hoops and Wizards should get on the discussions immediately. It would be good to have these teams have an extra source of revenue as well as have more corporate partners investing in the beautiful game.

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