SAN JOSE, Calif. — After going the entirety of last season without a jersey sponsor, and losing out on the income such a deal provides, the San Jose Earthquakes announced today that tech company Intermedia will have its name displayed across their shirts for the 2020 season and beyond.
In a courting process that started last spring and picked up steam in November, the Quakes organization completed a sponsorship agreement with the Sunnyvale based technology company that will pay them an undisclosed figure over the three years of the deal. The partnership will also feature a collaboration on the business side whereby Intermedia will provide communications services throughout the organization.
“Today is a historic day for the San Jose Earthquakes franchise as we debut Intermedia as the third jersey partner in club history,” team chief operating officer Jared Shawlee told a crowd of Intermedia employees and media gathered on the Earthquakes Stadium field. “They will provide products that will benefit both our soccer and business operations.”
While the financial details of the deal were not available, the partnership is more than just a capital investment. The Quakes hope the collaboration with the Silicon Valley cloud communications company will be streamline processes on the business and technical side of the operation. What the deal is unlikely to do is provide extensive resources to bolster the team’s spending on players.
“We feel really good about it, and I know Intermedia feels the same way,” Shawlee said. “We are looking forward to the technology they can provide us. Jesse [Fioranelli, the team’s GM] and the team down in the locker room will be outfitted with new equipment, and the coaches will get some advanced scouting equipment they can use.”
Matias Almeyda, who stands to benefit from the technology improvements, delivered a thank you to the team’s new sponsors during the event, with the head coach showing his appreciation of the partnership.
“It will make the team better and more competitive,” Almeyda said.
The first substantive conversation in securing the sponsorship came last May, when Intermedia CEO Michael Gold sat together with many of the Quakes front office executives and witnessed Chris Wondolowski score four goals to beat the Chicago Fire and become the all-time Major League Soccer goal scoring leader. It wasn’t Gold’s first Quakes game, but it was one that he considers one of the most exciting in MLS history.
“I am a huge Quakes fan, and I’ve been to many fantastic games over the years,” Gold said to kick off his remarks. “I’m honored that Intermedia, the company that I have helped build over the last nine years into a leading cloud communications company is now the jersey sponsor of the incredible San Jose Earthquakes. We both understand that innovation is the key to staying ahead of the competition.”
Among the speakers was Earthquakes managing partner John Fisher, the principle investor in the organization and an increasingly present figure for games and events at Earthquakes Stadium. Decked in a Quakes scarf and flashing a big smile, he was enthusiastic in welcoming Gold and the assembled Intermedia employees as the club’s new sponsorship partner.
“We couldn’t be more excited to have your company name on our jersey,” Fisher said. “Last year was a breakout season for us, with our coach Matias Almeyda, with our captain Chris Wondolowski scoring his 159th goal and counting, with our signing of Cristian Espinoza as our DP player, we couldn’t be more excited about the coming season. And having Intermedia as our partner on our jersey is going to take us over the top.”
The unveiling of the Quakes new jersey sponsor took place just in front of the stadium’s scoreboard bar, affectionately known as the LOBINA, which just last week had the large Avaya Stadium signage removed. With Intermedia and Avaya in the same technology space, it was a necessary change. What will replace the Avaya stadium naming sponsorship, and the $2 million annually it provided before the company entered bankruptcy in 2017, is still to be decided.
“Naming rights to the stadium will be coming next,” Shawlee said. “There’s nothing to announce yet, but with the jersey sponsorship completed before opening day, myself and the staff turn our attention and focus to the stadium.”
The Quakes COO also said that the team is nearing a deal on a sleeve sponsor as well. This year, MLS will allow teams to have sponsor patches on one sleeve of their uniforms, adding another potential revenue stream that Shawlee is keen to tap.
The Earthquakes are now in full preseason preparation mode ahead of their MLS season opener on Feb. 29 at Earthquakes Stadium against Toronto FC, when the new jersey featuring the Intermedia logo will make its on-field debut.