Seattle Sounders FC which will begin playing in Major League Soccer team in the 2009 season has snagged Microsoft to be their naming sponsor. The sponsorship deal is for deal for five years and a reported $20 million. The Microsoft Xbox 360 Live brand will be prominently displayed on the front of the Sounders’ green and blue jerseys
This is a big deal for MLS to involve a corporate sponsor the size of Microsoft in MLS and I beelive reflects the impact that David Beckham has had on raising awareness of soccer in corporate America.
While the Seattle Sounders are ten months away from playing their first MLS game, Tod Leiweke, CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, a partner in the ownership group, said Wednesday the team has accepted deposits for more than 16,000 season tickets and is on pace to potentially own the largest season ticket base in the league.
The next step for the Sounders is filling out a roster that curently has only one signed player—Sebastian Le Toux, who plays for the Seattle Sounders in the United Soccer League. General manager Adrian Hanauer has made recruiting trips to South American, Europe and Africa in recent months. The ownership group is open to signing a designated player, but wants any big name the team signs to be part of the Seattle community.
“We’ve had numerous conversations with other players, agents, scouts. We have short lists put together of players around the world, from designated players all the way down to backup players,” Hanauer said. “We haven’t made any decisions yet … but we’re getting things pretty well organized and we have a good idea how we want to build the team.”
There are a lot of rumors around who will be playing in Seattle next year with names like Kasey Keller and even Thierry Henry being banded about. Henry is an interesting one as some British newspapers have reported that Seattle has made a $10 million a year offer to Henry. Henry is part of Gillette’s Champions advertsing campaign actually has a hgiher profile in the U.S. than Beckham had when he came to the Galaxy last year.