The Seattle Sounders won't join Major League Soccer until next year, but they've already secured Microsoft as a corporate sponsor, and will have the words Xbox 360 LIVE across the front of their shirts, writes Matthew Futterman. Under the terms of the deal, to be announced Wednesday, Microsoft will pay the Sounders roughly $4 million a season for five years, "according to people familiar with the arrangement."
Although the expansion team has already received deposits for 16,000 season tickets "the sponsorship deal with Microsoft is perhaps the biggest milestone," says Futterman, "since the company has done little within the sports marketing arena previously other than a minor pro volleyball sponsorship and a few small ventures in foreign countries."
"Getting in on the ground floor with a new franchise and a relatively new league is a great opportunity for us," said Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division. MLS Commissioner Don Garber said the deal is another sign that the league has gained an unprecedented level of traction.