Ann Killion brings attention to the "six-story-tall Earthquakes jersey" that was visible in front of the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose, on Tuesday. "The Earthquakes," she writes, "want to make sure no one missed their big news: They have a corporate sponsor. In this economy, for a team in a minor sports league, that's news worth shouting."
"It's just huge for us," Quakes co-owner Lew Wolff said of the team's deal with Amway Global. "I feel that we have a bumpy road ahead. And that's in all sports." But with David Beckham and Landon Donovan probable departures from MLS to Europe, what will draw crowds to professional soccer in a stagnant economy? "Younger leagues like Major League Soccer need buzz, marketing, a draw," writes Killion. "They need credibility and hope. And MLS might be taking a big hit in all those departments this season."
She says it's "no surprise" that Beckham would bolt, but "if he leaves it will hurt the entire league. Even with Beckham, MLS ticket sales would probably dip this year. Without him, the plunge might be more dramatic." If the two players leave, the league "won't fold. But it won't make the bumpy road any smoother. No wonder the new corporate sponsorship was a big-as-a-building announcement."