Report: RSL ink multi-million dollar shirt sponsor deal

Javier Morales

 Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Real Salt Lake jersey’s could have a new look next season.

According to a report in Sports Business Daily, RSL has signed a new shirt sponsorship deal with LifeVantage worth in $30 million over ten years, tripling the amount of money that RSL will make compared with their current shirt sponsor, XanGo.

LifeVantage, a nutrition and pharmaceutical corporation, will see their name across the front of the RSL jerseys starting next season and will reportedly take advantage of a new design in the jerseys from Adidas. According to the report, the deal was wrapped up in 34 days.

What started with a meeting on September 13 between LifeVantage and RSL President Bill Manning finished with finalizing a contract on September 27 and seeing the contract approved on October 5. Sports Business Daily reports that the contract was signed between the two parties on October 16.

16 of the 19 Major League Soccer teams have shirt sponsors, with only the Houston Dynamo, Colorado Rapids, and San Jose Earthquakes without a jersey deal. In addition, LifeVantage joins Herbalife as a similar nutrition pharmaceutical that has a deal with MLS.

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What do you think of this report? What do you think of this deal? How does this change RSL’s offseason plans?

Share your thoughts below.

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98 Responses to Report: RSL ink multi-million dollar shirt sponsor deal

  1. DUDEEROO says:

    Can we use the money and re-sign Jason?

  2. Vinz Clortho says:

    Not bad. I’ve never heard of the company, but it’s nice to see the market for sponsorship appreciate (significantly) in value.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      “I’ve never heard of the company”

      Looks like the sponsorship is paying off already.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Yup. I think it’s most valuable in this situation, where it can create some name and brand recognition.

        It is also risky because maybe the business turns out disreputable or unprofitable. Houston was briefly sponsored by Greenstar Recycling, who were then purchased by Waste Management. Now they have a bare jersey and who knows if they got all the money.

        Red Bull is one of the few big companies that seems dedicated to the concept of sports sponsorship as advertising. But their brand recognition is probably global by now so what gives?

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Imperative: good question about Red Bull. I’m not a marketing expert, but I think advertising is more than just brand recognition. It’s about reinforcing the association of your brand with something. That means continued advertising even when your brand becomes a household term.

          “Red Bull” is becoming as synonymous with sports as “Gatorade”—meaning, not only do you think “sports” when you see a bottle of Gatorade, but Gatorade has become an essential part of sports. You say “college football” and I picture a 5-gallon orange barrel of Gatorade. A lot of Saturday pickup game checklists go: cleats, ball, Gatorade. Red Bull wants that level of brand association.

  3. iggy says:

    That seems like a pretty large deal…wonder how it compares to others in MLS. Covers a good portion of the players salaries for the next decade.

  4. AlexH says:

    Bravo! The more private money that flows into the league the better for soccer in the USA. I am, however, surprised that San Jose can’t swing a sponsor what with all of the Silicon Valley companies up the road.

  5. Jersey2Colorado says:

    so it begins… The rise of MLS.. we made it everyone. we made it.

    • drew11 says:

      Sorry, this is nothing new. Just MLS doing more business with MLM sleaze. Glad they are getting some bigger bucks out of it but cheezy nonetheless.

      • Ian says:

        Agreed. Didn’t want to rain the parade, but MLM schemes are the worst and for whatever reason, those companies love to sponsor MLS teams. I say that as a Galaxy fan who doesn’t particularly enjoy wearing a Galaxy jersey outside the stadium because I don’t want to promote a sleazy company.

        • Neruda says:

          I think you mean to say MLM as a sleazy business model but it’s not fair to say that all MLM’s are sleazy companies. I don’t rep any MLM’s at all but MLM’s are like other companies in terms of the people and products. There are good and bad ones (example: Xango who has been in the news for shady business deals.)

  6. a says:

    i don’t understand how the jersey sponsorship thing works? they pay the team money to have it on their jersey, okay but why and what for? does sponsorship really create good advertisement in this day and age?

    • krazymunky says:

      People who wear the jerseys with the sponsors name. walk around in public with it. so you basically have a lot of moving billboards.

      • Rory says:

        It’s actually only worth it to the sponsor if you have a huge fanbase who buy crap because you’re the sponsor (see Mexican teams and beer brands) or if you are an unknown company trying to get recognized. A few years of shirt sponsorship or a 30 second Super Bowl Ad, same cost, your choice.

    • Jonathan says:

      Half of advertising is brand recognition and giving the idea that your are a big-time product. Think about where jerseys get seen. When the players are on the field/pitch the jersey sponsor’s brand gets exposed to fans in the stands and people watching on TV. Then the fans buy the jerseys and you have walking billboards. These jerseys will also show up in things like the FIFA video game franchise which sends your brand worldwide.

  7. byob elpaso tx says:

    Good but MLS teams need to attract major jersey sponsors. You have facebook, apple, amazon, ebay, MacDonalds, burger king, pizza hut, samsung, ford, chevy, coca cola, pepsi, wal mart, budweiser, dell, google, bank of america, walgreens, cvs and the list goes on.
    With that money, a team can make a new training field, upgrade their stadium and of course DPs!!!!
    Look at seattle, they have money from left to right like Red Bull. I just wonder if seattle will ever get their stadium, real stadium.

    • Jay says:

      There is no incentive for Seattle to get a new stadium. They draw 50,000 fans a game, and building a stadium that large is too expensive for a MLS team right now. Only issue with their stadium situation is not having natural grass, but I think they’ll live with the situation they have now.

    • Clyde Frog says:

      FWIW, I’ve been told that sponsoring jerseys is usually ( not always, but usually) NOT regarded as effective advertising for already established, massive companies.

      • K-Town says:

        I would have to agree with this. Companies like that are looking for global exposure. Like Chevrolet and Man Utd next year.

      • KJ says:

        You’re right, but for lager companies, it wouldn’t be viewed as money-making advertisement, but more likely to improve the image. Basically saying, “we support this sport which you like, we aren’t so bad huh?” Do you really think so many college bowl games would be sponsored otherwise?

    • Hopper says:

      CenturyLink is a real stadium.

      It’s so real it holds more people than all the other MLS stadiums, and unlike the other MLS teams, the Sounders can actually fill it.

      • Rory says:

        Well they can fill 2/3′rds of it at least.

        But no, it’s still a football stadium that is a bit awkward for soccer.

        The real kicker is the turf. I don’t know if real grass is even possible in Seattle, but that turf is god awful. The ball bounces like a rubber ball and it affects play, as we saw from Keane’s goal last night. At least in the smaller stadiums or even Chivas’ empty stadium, the physics of soccer aren’t changed. Maybe they can figure out a way to reduce the bounce or something.

        • Neruda says:

          The biggest setback on turf is the increase of injuries but I’ve read that newer turf innovations have reduced injuries. If the phony grass was to improve to be as safe as natural grass then it wouldn’t be a big deal that it remains for a few teams in MLS. People have to start thinking of it like different play surfaces in tennis. Different surfaces allow for different advantages.

        • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

          Looked pretty full last night. I even walked up to the 300 level to see some friends…..I guess you saw some empty seats that I didn’t ?

        • Soccerhorn says:

          you do know that Chivas’ empty stadium and Galaxy’s completely packed stadium are the same stadium? Widely considered to be the best pitch in the league. If they can grow grass in the desert, they sure as heck can grow grass in the PNW.

    • dfs says:

      Seattle fans are supposedly the ones everyone around here hates but you’ve just turned a thread about RSL’s new shirt sponsor into a criticism of seattle’s stadium. Good job.

  8. FGB says:

    It’s nice to see lucrative sponsorship deals in MLS.

    But are they just swapping one pyramid scheme company for another here?

    • Hagan says:

      Life Vantage is a company and has full public disclosure, a real business!

      LFVN: NASDAQ & now RUSSELL GLOBAL INDEXES RUSSELL 2000 INDEXES

      BSCG certifies Life Vantage BSCG.org Banned Substance Control Group

      NASC certifies Life Vantage NASC.CC National Animal Supplement Council

      • blokhin says:

        given the multiple posts, I’m guessing you work for them?

      • QuakerOtis says:

        I love it when people “run their own business” by selling someone else’s product in the exact way that someone else tells them to do it.

  9. irishapple21 says:

    I guess pyramid schemes are shirt sponsors for MLS the same way that sketchy online betting rings are shirt sponsors for EPL teams.

    • jonk says:

      Haha, bingo. Beat me to it.

      • Hagan says:

        LifeVantage (Nasdaq:LFVN), a leader in Nrf2 science and the maker of Protandim®, the Nrf2 Synergizer® patented at least through 2034 is a science based nutraceutical company. LifeVantage is dedicated to visionary science that looks to transform wellness and anti-aging internally and externally with products that dramatically reduce oxidative stress at the cellular level. The Company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, UT.

        Today, LifeVantage is a burgeoning science-based nutraceutical company dedicated to helping people achieve healthy living through a combination of scientifically validated products and an attractive business opportunity. We help people become better, creating and living a legacy, and living a life of purpose by helping others improve their physical and financial health.

  10. jonk says:

    As bad as all these multi-level marketing scam sponsorships are, at least we’re not being inundated with a dozen different gambling websites. Although I’m not really sure which is the bigger evil — probably MLM.

    • Jacknut says:

      Funny thing: When Becks signed with the Galaxy in’07, the team had sponsorship offers from Citibank and Herblife. Luckily, they chose Herbalife!

    • Sally Schroeder says:

      FYI, LifeVantage is not a MLM “scam”. We are a publicly traded company and, as someone pointed out earlier, the 2nd fastest growing MLM. Our product has been approved for athletic use by NCAA, NFL, MLB, Olympic Committee and carries approval by BSCG (Banned Substances Control Group) on its label. Don’t be so quick to judge!!

      • a says:

        what’s a MLM? whats with all the damn acronyms in this country

        • dfs says:

          MLM (multi level marketing) is a system where sales people earn money for both the amount that they sell and for the amount that people they recruited sell. They’re sometimes associated with pyramid schemes because a new sales “recruit” will sometimes have to preorder a large quantity of the product to sign up. So the people at the top can make lots of money of their recruits payments without any actual consumers buying the product. I don’t know if this is the case with LifeVantage.

          From skimming their wikipedia page the best that can probably be said is that they sell an untested supplement to people that has not been shown to have any positive health benefits and is not recommended as treatment for any condition.

          • Score says:

            I wouldn’t call the research that Harvard Medical and the American Heart Association does untested research when it’s actually the highest level research that can be done. Wiki scammed you, buddy. Try Google Scholar next time or http://www.pubmed.gov. You’ll get more credible results than some basement blogger. Try looking at NASDAQ press releases also. If you are a soccer fan, please represent with brains and integrity instead of making soccer fans look ignorant. As far as MLM, well maybe refer to what financial leaders say about the business model if you want a place to start, like Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, and Robert Kyiosaki.

          • Dave says:

            Life Vantage is approx 70% customer and 30% distributor. Based on that the FTC (Federal Trade Commision) say’s it’s not a pyramid scheme.

      • OPMG says:

        Please leave this blog if you’ve only showed up because you got a google alert that your stupid company name was mentioned. I’m pretty confident that your comments aren’t making any difference as nobody on this site cares about your company, only that this new deal is a sign of more progress in MLS.

        And coming from somebody with marketing experience, I know conventional wisdom is to be everywhere and reply to these types of things to set the record straight, but it comes off as insincere and and insecure when you have to comment on every off-handed comment made by a soccer fan who has never even heard of your company.

      • Nate says:

        Sorry – *publicly traded* scam. Is that how we should refer to your company?

    • Matt Rasmussen says:

      Agreed. It’s great RSL got a fantastic deal on a sponsorship with a local company. However, MLM’s are equivalent in my mind with gambling sites — both offer big payouts if you put in your dues but the money *always* stays with The House.

  11. zachary says:

    At least I won’t have to tell people how to pronounce Xango when I wear an RSL shirt anymore.

  12. freaked out says:

    It might be MLM but I saw somewhere that Life Vantage was the second fastest growing company in Utah….Maybe we are onto something?

    • Neruda says:

      Not surprised. It was Xango and Monavie back in the day and there are solid standby’s like Nuskin. Advocare based in Texas must be pretty big because I see it all over where I live in the PNW.

  13. solles says:

    this is actually sort of historic, as the RSL Xango jerseys were the very first MLS jerseys with a sponsor on the front chest.

  14. blokhin says:

    ugh….why doesn’t MLS just put screens on the front of the jerseys and have SPAM ads rotate throughout the game?

    hey, wait a minute, I gotta got patent that right now….

  15. bottlcaps says:

    If you read between the lines, the shirt sponsorship says a lot more.

    Consider this; Unlike the Seattle Sounders, who lead the League in attendance and teams like NYRB and the LA Galaxy who have lucrative shirt and media deals and also good attendance. RSL has none of these.

    At most attendance, even with CCL, Open Cup and friendlies will barely top 500,000 for the season in the Rio Tinto Stadium.

    Salt Lake City and its surrounding area, is a small MSA, ranked around 50th with a population barely ticking over 1 million and a good but not spectacular growth rate of a bit over 3% Not a big media Market by any means.

    It has an excellent team, filled with excellent players, and only recently signed it’s first designated player, but it has no star power, it has no Beckham or Henry and no Donovan or Keane, or Dempsey.

    So what drives a company to invest heavily into a “shirt only” sponsorship?

    I believe that RSL, with the co-operation of the MLS leaked to the new sponsor, hints about a successful new Television contract. Most likely with at least THREE major networks, carrying about 75-85 percent of the MLS games on tier one channels/networks )i.e., no tier 2 channels and networks like Bein, or FSP)

    The three million per year is commensurate to what sponsors pay for Cycling Jersey space in the Pro cycling ranks (some pay a lot more if you have the big stars)

    If you pay three million for jjersey or shirt space, you are betting that your “shirt” will be shown consistently to a LOT more often and in a lot markets that SLC throughout the year.

    Like most advertising, ad space revenue is determined by “views” or how many people se the advert and how many times. In radio/TV land you use the Neilsens and other metrics as a multiplier. In print media, it’s circulation, ad space and/or column inches.

    The “shirt” space has two big multipliers, viewing attendance )home and away) , print media and the biggie, TV and radio media. You can bet your bottom dollar it’s for the latter.

    You heard it here first.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      Not a bad theory. $3 million is a lot for a small market team and about what Seattle was getting with quite a bit more fans.

      • bryan says:

        it’s really not even a theory. these insane prices for shirt sponsors for Real Madrid, Manchester United, etc. are a result of their global audience due to TV.

        and to be fair to Seattle, they signed a one-year extension. Xbox wants to promote Xbox One so we can bet that’ll be on the jersey next year. but after that? i expect an even bigger contract, especially if Emirates Airlines (which now has a new non stop flight from Seattle to Dubai) is still interested (source: seattletimes.com).

    • DCLee says:

      Yeah. Interesting thoughts. I would love to see what you are saying happen. I think it is great for RSL and the league regardless (:

      Rio Tinto is a great venue and RSL has some fantastic fans that support their team no matter what! Good luck in the playoffs form this D.C. United fan.

    • ben says:

      While I agree wholly with what you’ve said, your estimate of RSL’s metro area is WAY off. You are not taking into account the Ogden or Provo metro areas which also make up RSL’s fan base. In fact, from about a half hour drive north of Ogden to about a half hour south of Provo is basically one giant city. According to wikipedia (granted not the best source, but reliable for census figures), the population for the area is nearly 2.5 million. Not huge by any stretch, but a lot bigger than 1 million. On a related note, the Utah media market is in the low 30s, not the 50s.

      • Noah says:

        Exactly. People always underestimate Salt Lake because the government considers it a separate “metropolitan statistical area” from Ogden and Provo, which is just silly.

        The government also has “Combined Statistical Areas” and in that Salt Lake ranks 24th, and has grown 3.46% the last two years, well above average.

      • Neruda says:

        I was going to say the same thing. It’s a small market but MLS is riddled with small market teams. People usually forget the SLC area includes the wasatch front which is four counties.

      • bottlcaps says:

        The info came from the US Census site. It is the official MSA (metropolitan Statistical Area) numbers I The SLC MSA includes the SLC-Provo-Orem area.

    • Todd says:

      RSL has top attendance, better than RB &3/4 of te league. Your an idiot.

  16. nato says:

    O/T but whose better?

    Israel special forces or British SAS or US DELTA FORCE

    • Good Jeremy says:

      I’ve met the latter two and have been very impressed. That being said, I would start a fight with them before anyone from the Israeli SF.

  17. nato says:

    why do we even have jersey sponsors? i mean sure it’s cool but wasn’t it just as cool years ago with no marketing or capitalistic demands on the jerseys of the players

  18. petedx says:

    Good for them. I also heard Seattle is working on a deal with groupon for their next shirt sponsor.

  19. MLS Fan says:

    Guys, Lifevantage is a fantastic company that started out as a small publicly traded biotech firm (venture-capital financed) started solely because of a scientific breakthrough. The scientist that created it won the Elliot Cresson medal (look it up-it’s a BIG deal) for discovering the fact that free radicals are responsible for aging and disease–(kinda like rusting from the inside).

    Guess what?? Athletes have a LOT of free radical damage. Till now, there was NO way to combat it after age 20, when all the anti-oxidant enzymes stop being produced in abundance (that’s why kids heal so quickly). Anti-oxidants are big business but basically how is a 1:1 ratio going to help when your body produces 300000000000000000000000 free radicals a day (I don’t care what the ORAC value is)? The Lifevantage product activates the genes that make those antioxidant enzymes as well as anti-inflammatory enzymes, and intracellular Glutathione (heard of that?).

    The company initially sold its product online, by advertising in medical journals and in GNC, Rite Aid and CVS stores, however because the store clerks didn’t know what it was and couldn’t explain it, no one bought it. The company almost went out of business but someone suggested it was the perfect product for word of mouth advertising. The board of directors did NOT want to go into network marketing for the same reasons you say–they did not want to be associated with some “sleazy network marketing scheme”… but this company is doing things RIGHT. They ended up making the switch in 2009 and went from 3.5 million a year in sales with 2 million in debt to over 208 million in sales and debt free. Most of their revenue comes from satisfied and loyal customers and not from distributors, unlike many MLMs. They have dedicated themselves to changing the “name” of network marketing to something positive and I’d say they’ve done a great job so far. The corporate officers are top notch. You will find all kinds of blogs about it being a “scam” but note the source/check their credentials….then check the national institute of health website (www.pubmed.gov) for “Protandim” and you will see the science is REAL. Check Yahoo Finance and you will see the Company is REAL (Motley Fool rates it a strong “Must Buy” and iStock rates it the #1 stock under $5). And now, Real Salt Lake will have an EDGE because the players will have 40% less free radical damage on average.

    Goooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!

    • Eugene says:

      Shouldn’t your comment come with some safe harbor language for a press release?

    • sony says:

      holly s*it!

    • petedx says:

      I think we need a product that cleans up all the “free radicals” in the comment sections.

      • Increase says:

        We need to stop using Fiat Currencies!

        Go back to the Gold Standard to say the World Economy! Follow the Yellow Brick road!

        • Seriously says:

          You know that book was advocating moving to the silver standard right?

          • Increase says:

            I don’t know too much about it really. I imagine it would be a great way to control inflation if you had too.

            Arcane political issues are kinda fun. People tend to take some systemic things for granted. Japan only started trial by jury in 2009 after all.

            Randomly selected representative officials replacing our current system of voting sounds pretty neat. We do it for juries why not for the legislature.

    • MetroChris says:

      are you sure your an mls fan?

  20. Bobb says:

    I for one will not be bashing LifeVantage for putting MILLIONS into American soccer.
    Same goes for Xango and Amway in the past, and Herbalife and Advocare currently.
    MLS fans have such an inferiority complex. There are all sorts of shady betting sites on jerseys in Europe. Get over it. Say thanks, for putting that money into MLS and not somewhere else.

    • Increase says:

      I do love the gambling sponsorships. I can’t even begin to imagine why that’s allowed. It just screams collusion. Of course soccer has always been kinda corrupt it’s not anything new.

      I know nothing about this new sponsor nor do I truly care because it could hardly be worse than having “Qatar Foundation” on your shirt but Hey Monarchies that have questionable labor practices that result in the death of hundreds are way better than what is apparently a foolish marketing strategy.

  21. MetroChris says:

    WOW! can all these sales people get off this site. we don’t give a crap about your company! we’re here because we care about soccer and MLS.

    • MLS Fan says:

      Who is trying to sell you MetroChris? I thought this discussion was about the new jersey sponsorship. Am I missing something?

  22. ElMetrofan says:

    Not bad, enough to cover salary for next 10 years. Everything else is profit :).