Sounders FC’s jersey sponsorship with Xbox was set to expire after this season, but general manager Adrian Hanauer has confirmed the sides have agreed to extend the deal through the 2014 season.
“We’re very happy,” said Hanauer, also a part owner of the team. “It’s been a fantastic partnership. Excited to extend for a year and hopefully this leads to something even longer term, but we’ll let the business groups hash it out and figure out whether we can do something for the long haul.”
The Sounders announced last August that they were exploring other options for a jersey sponsor, leading some to wonder if the relationship had soured or that the sides were far apart in a new agreement.
“I’m not sure that’s really true — that we were ever really far apart,” Hanauer said. “We wanted to explore the marketplace, but at the same time we always wanted to be with Xbox and Microsoft. I mean they’re the perfect partner. We stayed in contact and ultimately it made sense for both parties, at least on a short-term basis. Again, hopefully we can figure something out long term from here.”
Asked if Sounders FC’s success with TV ratings, merchandise and attendance — none of which was expected at these levels when the first deal was made in 2009 — had become a sticking point in negotiations, Hanauer said he wasn’t convinced that was entirely the case.
“I don’t know that it makes it more difficult, but it changes the equation a little bit,” he added. “And so, I guess everybody has to reset and say, ‘This is not what we thought it was going to be when we either sold it or bought it, so what is it today? And what will it be in the future? And, ultimately, how to we value that?’ I’m not sure it’s more complicated, it just adds a new set of data that we have to work with.”
As seen in the picture above, there is some “Xbox One” labeling out at Starfire (that is in the backdrop for interviews when TV cameras are involved), but Hanauer said he wasn’t sure what the exact marketing plan was for the jersey.