KIRKLAND, Wash. — May 28, 2008 — The Seattle Sounders FC and Major League Soccer (MLS) today announced a multiyear sponsorship with Microsoft Corp. and Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system. The landmark deal is highlighted by the “Xbox 360 LIVE” logo featured prominently on the Sounders FC jersey. Sounders FC will debut its new uniforms when the team takes the field for the first time in spring 2009.
Xbox 360 also will be featured as the presenting sponsor of the Sounders FC annual international tour and will gain entitlement to the team’s playing surface, “The Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.” Xbox 360 will be recognized as the Official and exclusive Video Game Console of MLS.
“This is a defining moment for the entire soccer community,” said Sounders FC majority owner Joe Roth. “We took a very strategic approach in our search for a Presenting Partner. In our minds it was critical to partner with a locally based, international company with a strong brand, a culture similar to our own, and a commitment to our community. The Xbox reputation for providing products and entertainment experiences that bring people together to compete, hang out and have fun makes them a perfect partner for our organization.”
“Teaming with the Seattle Sounders FC and Major League Soccer is a perfect combination for Microsoft and Xbox 360,” said Robbie Bach, president, Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft. “Xbox 360 is the new home for sports games, and our goal is to entertain a global audience. Sponsoring our hometown team playing the world’s favorite sport marked a great opportunity for Microsoft to support our local community and further associate the Xbox 360 brand with soccer’s international appeal.”
At the heart of the sponsorship is a commitment from the Sounders FC and Xbox 360 to collaborate in developing the team’s overall community and philanthropic initiatives.
“One of the most exciting pieces of this sponsorship is the opportunity to work with Microsoft and Xbox 360 to create dynamic community programs and build one of the leading brands of soccer in the U.S.,” said Vulcan Sports and Entertainment CEO Tod Leiweke. “We also look forward to building a great relationship with Microsoft employees who live, work and play in our backyard.”
The sponsorship delivers MLS league and team marks along with logos and marketing assets at league and select team events such as the Pepsi MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup, Major League Soccer’s championship game. The agreement includes player appearances, intellectual property, title nights, Web site presence, in-stadium exposure — including Xbox 360 fieldboards to be displayed at every MLS game — and on-site activation at select MLS special events. Xbox 360 also will be a sponsor of MLS grassroots and community initiatives including MLS Futbolito, the League’s official 4-v-4 soccer tournament.
“We are proud to welcome Microsoft and Xbox 360 to the Major League Soccer family,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “The addition of one of the world’s most prominent brands to Major League Soccer is another indication of the League’s growth on the global sports landscape. Xbox 360 fits in perfectly with the Sounders FC brand and with our young and diverse audience that is actively involved in today’s digital world.”
About Seattle Sounders FC
Launched in November 2007, Seattle Sounders FC became the 15th club in Major League Soccer and will begin play during the 2009 MLS season. The ownership group includes film producer Joe Roth, Adrian Hanauer, Vulcan Sports & Entertainment and comedian Drew Carey. The team has received deposits for over 16,000 season tickets since the announcement. Visit www.soundersfc.com for more information.
About Major League Soccer
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and features many stars from the U.S. and around the world. Now in its 13th season, the 14 teams in MLS are: the Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Chivas USA, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes and Toronto FC. For more information about MLS, log on to the League’s official Web site at www.MLSnet.com.
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is a superior video game and entertainment system delivering the best games, unique entertainment features and a unified online gaming network that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 has a portfolio of nearly 400 games in 37 countries. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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