By Paul Kennedy and Ridge Mahoney
The San Jose Earthquakes will open a new stadium in 2014 -- though it won't be the new stadium they're building near San Jose Airport.
The Quakes will be partnering with the Santa Clara Stadium Authority to host the Seattle Sounders on Aug. 2, 2014, in the first event at 68,500-seat Levi's Stadium, the new home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.
“We are proud to open Levi’s Stadium against Sounders FC,” said Earthquakes president Dave Kavalin a statement. “Santa Clara and the 49ers are great partners and they are constructing a world-class venue that all the Bay Area can be proud of. “We have seen great crowds around MLS over the past five years, especially in Seattle, but we are confident that this match will once again demonstrate that the Bay Area has the most passionate soccer fans in the country.”
The Quakes have regularly played one-off games at Stanford Stadium and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in the past.
Their new stadium is scheduled to be ready in time for the 2015 MLS season. The opening was twice put back from the start of the 2014 season, to midway through next season, to 2015 as work to remove existing materials at the stadium construction site took longer than expected.
NBC FINAL RATINGS.The fourth and final game of the MLS regular-season MLS -- D.C. United-Houston -- drew a rating of 0.2 rating, or just 294,000 (h/t @AustinKarp). That's half the rating of the recent USA-Australia women's match that averaged 497,000 viewers.
HEINEKEN RE-UPS.Three more years.
Those ubiquitous Heineken ads on Champions League telecasts will be a staple until 2018 under terms of agreement negotiated by the brewer and UEFA.
The Heineken brand has been a sponsor since 2005, and UEFA announced this week a three-year extension of a deal that was due to expire in 2015. No financial terms of the extension were disclosed. Reuters reported that the current partnership costs Heineken $70 million a year.
Heineken is the first Champions League sponsor to renew beyond the current 2012-2015 term, although Adidas has negotiated an extension as an official supplier. Other current sponsors are Ford, Gazprom, MasterCard, Sony PlayStation and UniCredit. HTC is also a supplier.
“As Heineken is available in 220 countries in the world and so is the UEFA Champions League, this platform really is to build the Heineken brand worldwide,” said Heineken's global activation manager, Hans Erik Tuijt.
Heineken will also enhance its social media outreach with elements such as live Twitter feeds linked to matches. Next Wednesday, former Argentine international Hernan Crespo will provide comments on the Barcelona-AC Milan match, and fans who follow and contribute can win prizes.
#ShareTheSofa will run throughout the entire UEFA Champions League season and reward selected fans with items such as signed soccer balls to PlayStation Vita consoles. Consumers must confirm they are of legal drinking age in their territory and follow @Heineken. They then tweet their question @Heineken, using hashtag #ShareTheSofaduring the Champions League match.
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