SEATTLE — Online retailer Zulily will be the Seattle Sounders’ primary kit sponsor for the foreseeable future, the club announced Thursday during an event in the Olympic Sculpture Park in downtown Seattle.
The National Women’s Soccer League’s Seattle Reign, which has different ownership than Major League Soccer’s Sounders, also announced Zulily as their kit sponsor during the news conference.
Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer was tight-lipped about the terms of the deal, but he said the sponsorship represented an increase from the club’s old partnership with Microsoft’s Xbox.
“It’s a long-term partnership,” Hanauer said. “The resources are more resources than we were previously generating. Our league is on fire. There’s a lot of tailwind. That was certainly a piece of the puzzle. We were also to split off some assets to make some things available to sell down the line to add to the overall resources, which hopefully allows us to go make sure we’re spending appropriately to win championships. Zulily wants to be part of a winner.”
The other primary asset freed up by the termination of the Xbox deal is naming rights to the pitch at CenturyLink Field. The club hopes to sell those rights separately and combine the funds with the kit sponsorship to allow for competitive spending in a league that has seen massive financial growth in recent years.
Reign owner and president Bill Predmore said his club hoped to bring more awareness to Zulily, an online retailer headquartered in Seattle.
“[Zulily has] built an incredible brand over this last decade now that I think this whole community can be proud of,” Predmore said. “I think about the relationship and partnership here. I know it’s going to do great things for us. Hopefully, through our collaboration, it’s going to bring Zulily the recognition and respect that they’ve earned over the last few years.”
The Sounders initially partnered with talent agency WME-IMG in August 2017 to search for a new kit sponsor, though they eventually parted ways to look for a sponsor themselves.
In Zulily, Hanauer said, the club has a partner that fits more than just their financial needs moving forward.
“When we first got together with Zulily [our] vision and philosophies overlapped and were so in synch,” Hanauer said. “It was quickly a no-brainer. It’s easy to write a check and put your logo on something. It’s much harder to form a partnership and collaboration. Iterate, ideate, come up with the really interesting ways in which a partnership like this will work effectively. From day one, it was clear that through two organizations we were going to come up with really great ways to make our community better, to help Sounders win, to be an important part of the Zulily ecosystem and then finally to bring the Reign into the fold. This sort of all-encompassing embrace of soccer in our community was just a massive statement.
“Resources win championships in sports. That is not a small piece to this puzzle, but ultimately we wanted a partner whose vision dovetailed with Sounders FC.”