Major League Soccer franchise the Seattle Sounders has teamed up with the WME-IMG agency to aid its search for a future naming-rights partner for a range of assets including its match-day pitch and training facility.
The package of rights up for grabs also includes front-of-shirt sponsorship, as Seattle’s partnership with current sponsor, games console brand, Xbox, expires at the end of the 2018 season.
“We’re excited to put the full force of an innovative company like WME-IMG behind us as we explore our future naming-rights options,” said Sounders chief operating officer Bart Wiley.
“Since joining the league in 2009, Sounders FC has forged its own path and become a leader within the North American soccer landscape. As we head into our tenth MLS season, we feel that taking a fresh look at the value of our top partnership assets allows our club to achieve further success on and off the field.”
Xbox has served as the club’s naming-rights sponsor since 2009. As well as having its branding appear on the front of Seattle’s shirts, the company sponsors the club’s playing field, which is known as the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. The rights are for the pitch and not the stadium itself, which the team shares with NFL American football franchise the Seattle Seahawks.
The sponsorship package also includes rights to Seattle’s training facility at Starfire Sports in Tukwila, Washington.
Seattle’s vice-president of corporate partnerships, Michael Shockley, added: “We have been very pleased with our partnership with Xbox over the years and certainly plan to continue discussions with Microsoft as our current naming rights agreement comes to a close.
“However, with the continued growth and popularity of MLS and our club’s sustained success on the field, we feel the time is right to explore all available partnership options to give our team every possible advantage going forward. We’re proud to be the first MLS club to work with WME-IMG and look forward to their expertise and guidance.”