SBD/Issue 174/Sports Industrialists

This Week's Newsmakers: MLS Sounders, Microsoft Make Some Noise

THE DAILY each Friday offers our take on the performances over the past week of people and entities in sports business. Here are this week’s newsmakers.

Sounders Land Microsoft
As Jersey Sponsor
WIN: MLS SOUNDERS FC -- In a city with franchises that boast stars like ICHIRO, MATT HASSELBECK and KEVIN DURANT (at least for now), it is the club with only one player under contract that successfully attracts the sponsorship dollars of Microsoft. The software uber-giant agrees to a five-year deal worth a reported $20M to advertise its Xbox 360 on the Sounders' jerseys, instantly giving the club the second-most lucrative shirt sponsorship in MLS. Also, 16,000 fans have already put down deposits on season tickets at Qwest Field. And the team does not even take the pitch for another 10 months.

LOSE: FRENCH OPEN -- Does anyone know that this tournament is currently being played? The year’s second Grand Slam is nearing the halfway point, and the biggest news coming out of Roland Garros is middle-of-the-road player ASHLEY HARKLEROAD is appearing in Playboy this summer. JAMES BLAKE again is bounced early in the draw, but at least he makes the trip to Paris, unlike ANDY RODDICK. And in the HENIN-less women’s field, top seed MARIA SHARAPOVA needs an extended third set just to win her opener and SERENA WILLIAMS is stunned Friday.

DRAW: INDIANAPOLIS 500 -- As last Sunday’s event begins, a palpable buzz is in the air as the crown jewel of open-wheel racing makes its first attempt to regain its toehold in the sports landscape. So what happens? Young stars DANICA PATRICK and GRAHAM RAHAL fail to finish the caution-marred 500 miles, and MARCO ANDRETTI is best remembered for his role in causing a teammate to wreck. And while SCOTT DIXON caps off a near-perfect month of May with a deserving swig of milk, few casual race fans would likely be able to recognize him if he were walking next to them.

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