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Volume 20 No. 46
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Deal will give Sports Authority big exposure in MLL

Big-box retailer Sports Authority has agreed to the broadest sponsorship agreement in the history of Major League Lacrosse.

The multiyear deal, which is expected to push seven figures annually, will make Sports Authority easily the most dominant sponsor presence across the six-team outdoor league.

As the MLL’s exclusive sporting goods store, Sports Authority will be the presenting sponsor of the league’s 40 game broadcasts and the weekly 30-minute magazine show, as well as the MLL’s apps on the iPhone and Android networks.

MLL games are distributed via a TV syndication package in the league’s six markets and online at ESPN3. Six games will be aired on ESPN2. Within those broadcasts, Sports Authority will receive four ad units, in-game features, logo on the score graphic and the store’s name will run in all of the promotions.

“This is far and away the most assets we’ve ever put together in a deal,” said David Gross, commissioner of the MLL. “Sports Authority will be synonymous with our league. They will be touching everything MLL on TV, online, on the field, everywhere.”

As part of the deal, Englewood, Colo.-based Sports Authority will be title sponsor of the league’s All-Star Game and the postseason, which will become the Sports Authority MLL Championship Weekend presented by Warrior.

The Sports Authority agreement caps an active offseason for MLL, which began play in 2001 and has had ESPN2 as its broadcast partner since 2003. Every game is streamed on ESPN3.

The league has added Powerade as the official sports drink to replace Gatorade, signed Fathead to a licensing deal and is on the verge of adding a sponsor in the spirits category. Ford came on board last year.

Sports Authority also will have a strong presence on site with signage on the field and logos on two of the team’s jerseys and shorts — the Rochester Rattlers and Denver Outlaws.

The league and Sports Authority still are working on what the MLL presence will be in-store, but the retailer is expected to use MLL imagery and logos in the lacrosse sections.

Gross said discussions with Sports Authority began last year and another sporting goods store entered the picture briefly, but Sports Authority’s reach with more than 450 stores nationally in 45 states was the kind of coverage that could really benefit the league.

“With the plan they’ve put in place for the next few years, Sports Authority is the best partner for us,” Gross said. “The assets at the store level will help the league and it also will help Sports Authority reach the lacrosse community.”