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Posts Tagged ‘MLS’

Professional team gives refund for bad game

Posted by ZA on May 10, 2010

The Seattle Sounders, a US professional soccer team from the MLS, has made a bold move that very few pro organizations have ever considered.  The Sounders announced that they are going to refund their fans for a game in which they lost.  Seattle’s “humiliating” home loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday was the game that prompted the refund.  The 4-0 loss prompted Sounders players to say the fans deserved better and it appears the Sounders management agreed with them.  All Sounders season ticket holders will receive a one-game credit towards their season ticket purchase next season.

I think it’s refreshing to see a team take position.  It’s not something that most teams are able to do, but Seattle will undoubtedly benefit from this move in fan and media support.  Most of the coverage of the Sounders today is people commenting on this rare, but forward thinking, move by the team execs.  Fans have become so accustomed to just taking whatever their team serves up, that when a team goes out of their way to repay the fans, it makes us all stand up and take notice.  Kudos to the front office of the Seattle Sounders.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in Soccer | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Labor battle in MLS heats up

Posted by ZA on March 16, 2010

Major League Soccer (MLS) has been an overwhelming success.  Not because it’s a stronger league than its international counterparts nor because it’s been a huge financial success, but simply because it’s still around.  Next year would be the MLS’s 15th year in business, which would bring it one year closer to tying the longevity of the previous most successful U.S. soccer league, the NASL.  The NASL was the league that featured the famous New York Cosmos teams and ran from 1968 to 1984 (16 years).

But the MLS needs to be careful because their current labor deal has the potential to end what has been an otherwise solid run.  MLS players have announced they will strike if they MLS ownership does not renew their contracts prior to the 2010 season starting on March 25th.  Now MLS ownership is delivering some major heat to those players and threatening to even “pull the plug” on the league.

AEG President Tim Leiweke came out firing when he said that a strike could “lose us (AEG)”, which has invested more than $300 million into the MLS and owns the L.A. Galaxy.  Leiweke went on to say that there were points over the past decade that AEG considered ending the league, because it isn’t a money maker, but they’ve stuck with it because they are passionate about the mission.

I’m sure this is a calculated move by AEG and Leiweke to put more pressure on the players.  AEG is deeply invested in the MLS, so I don’t see them pulling the plug any time soon.  That said, the MLS cannot afford an extended blackout from play if they want to keep their sponsors happy.  And the MLS is not in a position where they can afford to lose any sponsors, fans or other.  So let’s hope for the sake of soccer in this country, that the MLS players and ownership can agree on some issues to avoid a lengthy strike.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in Soccer | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Does anyone have more sponsors than Real Salt Lake?

Posted by ZA on June 12, 2009

Sponsorship deals are a way for professional sports teams to collect additional revenue, beyond ticket sales and concessions.  Large professional teams can bring in millions of dollars per year from these type of sponsorships.  But not every sponsorship deal is a revenue generator, many today are in-kind deals where a team trades sponsorship rights for services.  For example, a team might receive free, or reduced rate, airline travel by providing a sponsorship package to an airline.

These in-kind sponsorship deals are valuable for teams and the sponsors who receive them, but they are probably not going to get the same level of exposure that cash paying sponsors will receive.  But teams have plenty of sponsorship opportunities to sell, from naming rights deals on their stadium all the way down to logo inclusion in a game program.  With this plethora of opportunities to wheel and deal on trading services for sponsorships, many teams are cutting down on expenses by lining up a multitude of in-kind sponsors to cover many of their team needs (i.e.- expenses).

One professional team that is having success signing these in-kind sponsorships is Real Salt Lake.  Real is an MLS team that has deals with over 20 sponsors, with more than half of those being new for 2009.  Real Salt Lake has divided their sponsors into three categories based on dollars contributed (or traded) for their deal.  Real has landed a few sponsor partnerships which are offsetting costs associated with running a team or stadium.  Waste Management, Xinsurance, Cricket Wireless, Allied Sign and JetBlue are all sponsors of Real Salt Lake who can also provide a valuable service (in-kind) to the club.  By signing sponsors who can do that, the team can reduce their expenses.

These type of exchange of services sponsorship deals are nothing new.  In-fact I’ve traded tickets for sponsorships at events for well over a decade.  But with budgets tight in the current economy it makes a lot of sense for both teams and vendors to look into arrangements like this.

Real Salt Lake sponsorships:
Allied Sign
American First Credit Union
Burger King
Colonial Flag
Cricket Wireless
Fiji Water
Hoopes Vision
Les Olson Co
Mountain American Credit Union
Rocky Mountain Voice
Salt Lake Regional Medical Center
SCA paper
Siegfried & Jensen
Waste Management Inc
Workers Compensation Fund
Zions Bank
[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in Soccer, Sponsorship Deals, Sports Marketing, Stadium Pouring Rights, Stadium Signage, Venue Naming Rights | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

David Beckham to buy an MLS franchise

Posted by ZA on March 10, 2009

Saying that he is “passionate” about developing soccer in America; David Beckham announced that he plans to buy an Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise when he retires from playing.  This announcement comes after months of wrangling between Beckham and his MLS team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, about whether he would play a whole season for the Galaxy in 2009.  Apparently Beckham enjoyed his European football renaissance with Real Madrid so much that he wasn’t ready to return to his team in America.

Becks currently flip-flopping aside, it would be a huge plus for MLS to get such a high profile athlete supporting their league.  Even in retirement Beckham is sure to garner a lot of attention (think Mark Cuban, but only 1,000x more) from the media.  That media attention is always key for a burgeoning league like the MLS.  If the MLS is getting featured in People, USA Today and celebrity tabloids next to Beckham, then it should only raise the league’s profile in the United States.

SportBusiness reports that the most likely home of the franchise would be Las Vegas or San Diego.  If I were MLS soccer I would approach Steve Wynn or the Maloff brothers about co-owning a Vegas soccer team with Beckham.  The Maloffs own the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and the coolest hotel in Sin City (the Palm), so the relationship could be a perfect fit.  It could be a pairing (Beckham + Maloffs + Vegas) that could bring a lot of glitz and glitter to the MLS.  Maybe Wayne Newton would agree to be their Public Address announcer.

Posted in Soccer, Team Transactions | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »