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Seattle Sounders and Reign FC unveil new jersey sponsor, replace Microsoft with online retailer Zulily

Editor’s observe: This story has been up to date with particulars from the Sounders’ occasion saying Zulily as its new jersey sponsor.

[Follow up: From Microsoft to Zulily: Why the Sounders teamed up with Seattle e-commerce company that aims for rebrand]

Microsoft Xbox could also be out because the Seattle Sounders jersey sponsor, and rumors are swirling about which firm will take its place.

The Main League Soccer membership is internet hosting an occasion on Thursday at midday to disclose an “essential membership announcement,” believed to be a new jersey sponsor. It teased the announcement on social media late Wednesday, and buzz factors to a different tech firm taking the place of Xbox, which has adorned the rave inexperienced jersey for the reason that membership’s debut within the league in 2009.

GeekWire might be on the scene this afternoon to report on the announcement, with a livestream deliberate round midday, so examine again right here to be taught extra. (Occasion begins at 12:30 within the video)

Replace, 11:57 a.m. — We simply arrived on the occasion. Right here’s a photograph of former Sounders goalkeeper and ESPN analyst Kasey Keller with Kevin Saliba, senior vice chairman of selling at Zulily — a telling signal of a new deal between the Seattle e-commerce firm and the Sounders (see extra beneath).

A fast primer on Zulily — the corporate launched in Seattle a decade in the past as a day by day offers website with merchandise for mothers and youngsters. It was acquired by Qurate, then generally known as Liberty Interactive, for $2.4 billion in 2015. Former CEO and co-founder Darrell Cavens, who began the corporate with Mark Vadon, stepped down a year ago; former Amazon govt and Shopbop CEO Jeff Yurcisin now leads Zulily.

Replace 12:32 p.m.: Zulily is certainly the new Sounders jersey sponsor. Right here’s Sounders star ahead Jordan Morris sporting the new look:

Seattle Sounders and Reign FC unveil new jersey sponsor, replace Microsoft with online retailer Zulily

 

Replace 12:33 p.m.: Right here’s a press release from Microsoft:

“Because the group entered the league in 2009, Microsoft has proudly served as inaugural title sponsor of the Seattle Sounders. It’s been unimaginable to see Sounders change into some of the profitable and beloved franchises in MLS historical past–and to look at them contribute to the vitality and progress of soccer within the Seattle space. We want the group and group all one of the best.” —Chris Capossela, Microsoft’s Chief Advertising Officer

Replace 12:35 p.m.: Zulily can also be the new jersey sponsor for Seattle’s skilled girls’s soccer group, the Seattle Reign, which inked a sponsorship deal with Microsoft again in 2016.

Replace 12:41 p.m.: Saliba, the Zulily exec, spoke on stage on the occasion. “We consider within the Seattle neighborhood,” he stated. “We wish to make investments again in Seattle.” He additionally stated the corporate desires to extend its model consciousness in Seattle and stated Zulily’s values align with the Sounders group. “We nonetheless assume we’re a startup,” he stated.

Replace 12:44 p.m.: Adrian Hanauer, majority proprietor of the Sounders, described the deal as “a long-term partnership.” “The sources are extra sources than we have been beforehand producing,” he stated. “Our league is on fireplace and rising and there’s a number of tailwind. That was actually a bit to the puzzle.”

Hanauer added that the group “was in a position to cut up off some belongings and make another issues obtainable to promote down the road.” Microsoft beforehand had the jersey sponsorship but additionally had naming rights of the sector — “the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Discipline.” 

The Sounders may also have a possibility to promote a second commercial on the proper sleeve of jerseys, beginning in 2020.

Replace 12:48 p.m.: Zulily and the Sounders will associate for a Hack Day that lets contributors use biometric participant information.

Replace Feb. 12: Zulily formally unveiled their new firm brand.

Seattle Sounders and Reign FC unveil new jersey sponsor, replace Microsoft with online retailer Zulily

Story continues…

When the Sounders made their MLS debut a decade in the past, Microsoft inked a deal with its new hometown professional soccer membership to position Xbox branding on the entrance of jerseys. It’s a profitable sponsorship house — most golf equipment generate $3-to-$4 million per year on jersey offers, and the Sounders — given one of many strongest fan bases in some of the profitable markets — may command much more.

The unique jerseys featured “Xbox 360,” however Microsoft went with the straightforward “Xbox” for the previous a number of seasons. The sponsorship additionally included Xbox branding across the Sounders stadium — “the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Discipline,” for instance.

Microsoft used the jersey house to advertise numerous video games — together with ForzaHalo, and Gears of War — in addition to its cloud-based gaming service, Recreation Cross.

Microsoft prolonged its contract each in 2013 and 2014; the present deal expired after the 2018 season. In August 2017, the Sounders introduced that they have been working with sports activities administration large WME | IMG to discover a possible new naming rights sponsor for its jerseys, matchday pitch, and coaching facility.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to remark forward of at this time’s press occasion.

The Redmond, Wash.-based tech large can also be the jersey sponsor for Seattle’s girls’s skilled soccer group, the Seattle Reign. Its different native jersey deal was with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm; the Bing-related deal lasted from 2010 to 2014.

Microsoft continues to take a position closely within the sports activities world. In 2013, the corporate inked a marquee sponsorship deal with the NFL price a reported $400 million. That included the use of its Surface tablets on NFL sidelines, changing the previous black-and-white printed paper that groups beforehand used to evaluate previous performs, amongst different NFL-related promoting promotions.

Microsoft has accomplished other sports-related work lately, a technique that helps leagues use expertise to enhance their processes, exposes Microsoft’s merchandise to extra customers, and helps improve player performance.

So who will take Microsoft’s place on the Sounders kits?

Rumors started swirling online this week concerning the jersey naming rights for the Sounders, the third-most invaluable Main League Soccer group based on Forbes. The pending deal comes as MLS is seeing record-breaking attendance numbers and membership valuations that spiked 20 % during the last 12 months, CNBC reported.

Soccer attire information web site Footy Headlines reported in December that the Sounders can be altering its away jersey colours to black and magenta. That sparked conversations about T-Cellular because the new potential jersey sponsor. However the Bellevue, Wash.-based wi-fi provider additionally simply inked a long-term stadium naming rights deal with the Seattle Mariners — doubling down on one other Seattle sports activities group appears unlikely.

One other doable sponsor being thrown round is Zulily, the Seattle-based e-commerce firm that targets moms and girls. Zulily can be a shocking alternative, however given the weird location of Thursday’s announcement — the PACCAR Pavilion at Olympic Sculpture Park — and its shut proximity to Zulily’s Belltown headquarters, some consider the corporate might be a new Sounders associate.

Fascinated about it once more, it is unlikely any model adjustments their brand shade to one thing this drastic for this sort of deal, so that is probably extra reasonable.

Harking back to the Nuclear Orca (Pitch Black) with white Xbox brand. pic.twitter.com/kMkVq0oJXl

— Full 90 Further Time Podcast (@Full90ExtraTime) January 16, 2019

When approached by GeekWire on Wednesday concerning the new deal, a number of Zulily staff both walked away or stated they weren’t licensed to speak. Longtime Zulily govt Lori Twomey merely smiled and stayed silent after being requested to remark throughout a espresso break on the Starbucks adjoining to Zulily’s workplace.

Zulily actually has the money to afford an MLS sponsorship deal. In 2015, the corporate was acquired for $2.4 billion by Quarate Retail Group.

On Wednesday, a number of staff donning Qurate Retail Group attire have been seen outdoors Zulily’s workplaces.

There are additionally some attention-grabbing Sounders-Zulily connections. Kevin Saliba, senior vice chairman of selling at Zulily, is an effective buddy of Sounders majority proprietor Adrian Hanauer. Saliba was beforehand CEO at Imagekind, a Seattle startup backed by Hanauer that was acquired by Cafepress in 2008.

Zulily’s chief data officer, Luke Friang, is an enormous sports activities fan and particularly calls out the Sounders in his bio on the corporate’s website.

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