SBD/February 15, 2011/Franchises

Garber Says Whitecaps Are Outpacing Every Other MLS Club In Sponsorships

Garber calls Bell deal one of richest sports sponsorships in North America
MLS Commissioner Don Garber yesterday revealed that the "total value of Whitecaps sponsorships signed so far outpaces every other franchise in the league -- even New York and Los Angeles," according to Bruce Constantineau of the VANCOUVER SUN. Garber, who spoke at a Vancouver Board of Trade meeting, said the Whitecaps are the "leading sponsorship team" in all of MLS. Garber: "Even with Los Angeles and its stadium and David Beckham, the largest sponsorship base is here in Vancouver." The Whitecaps "signed a lucrative jersey sponsorship deal with Bell last summer and have since added deals with BMO, EA Sports and Labatt." Garber said that the Bell sponsorship is "one of the richest sports sponsorship deals in North America." He noted that the deal "doesn't involve television advertising or other media -- just a pure rights fee." He added that Bell "has certain digital and streaming rights for the Whitecaps and is negotiating with the league to obtain broader rights for the entire league." Garber also said that Vancouver soccer fans are "fortunate to have an owner like Greg Kerfoot, who may keep a low profile but there's no denying his passion for the sport" (VANCOUVER SUN, 2/15). In Vancouver, Marc Weber writes Garber "painted a picture Monday of an intensely involved Vancouver Whitecaps ownership group." Garber: "They could be our most-engaged ownership group. ... Very few days go by when we're not speaking to Greg or he's not speaking to Todd Durbin, our head of competition, or he's not calling other owners to ensure that we continue to get better" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/15).

BOSS TALK: MLS Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson discussed a wide range of issues regarding his team with SPORTSPRESS NORTHWEST's Stanley Holmes. When asked about positioning the Timbers brand in the Portland community, Paulson said, "Our marketing campaign highlighting the fans I feel as good about that as anything I've done in marketing. ... We're really highlighting the fans of Portland in a cool and edgy way." Paulson said of the "We Are Timbers" campaign, "I loved it from the get-go. Not using models, doing a casting call among our fans. You can't communicate civic pride more than that. I'm frankly surprised other teams haven't done it. It's all about the execution. It's generated a lot of buzz, which is what we wanted." Paulson also discussed the team's jerseys, saying, "I wanted a distinctive jersey that you knew right away was Portland. And I wanted a jersey that gave the right head nod to our past, and it wasn't rocket science that our main jersey would be forest green" (, 2/14).

OFF TO THE RACES:'s Steve Davis wrote "no one questions" how the Whitecaps and Timbers "will perform at the gate." Whitecaps officials "haven't released a season-ticket total but did say over the weekend that they are quickly approaching their 16,500 cap." It is the "same for the Timbers, who are approaching their cap of 12,000 season tickets at the renovated PGE Park." The "three-headed Pacific Northwest rivalry" between the Whitecaps, Timbers and Sounders "will bring something new to MLS: traveling fans in close proximity who are highly motivated to make the short trips" (, 2/14).
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