SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes unveiled two new jerseys on Thursday night. But whether you prefer the primary blue-and-black option or the secondary red throwback, there was one very noticeable similarity: the empty spot across the chest where a sponsor’s name would ordinarily go.
The Quakes haven’t had a jersey sponsor since their three-year deal with Amway Global expired after the 2011 season, but team president David Kaval said Thursday night at the club’s release party for its new crest and jerseys that team officials are “optimistic that it’ll happen in short order.”
“We’re in several advanced conversations with both jersey and [stadium] naming-rights partners,” Kaval said. “Some are considering both properties, and so we want to make sure that we get the right partner.”
Kaval said the firms in the running are predominantly technology companies, many from the Bay Area.
“But some are international, too, because some international tech companies like having a presence in the Bay Area, to make them feel more like a home team,” Kaval said.
Although Kaval said that the Quakes’ jerseys could sport a sponsor’s logo “at any time,” any potential deal is in limbo because of the concurrent talks about naming the club’s new stadium, which is still on track to be completed in November.
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“The calculus is different when you have to consider potentially bundling the assets and creating more value that way,” Kaval said, pointing to the example of Toronto FC’s lucrative deal with BMO, which included both a jersey deal and stadium name upon the Canadian club’s 2007 entry to MLS.
“You can’t really divorce the two [decisions], because a lot of the big sponsorship deals are connected to the stadium sponsorship,” he said. “And we want to make sure … that we get the most value. Because the dollar figure of that deal it helps you make additional investments on the field.”