Timbers debut gets the money flowing

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
0411_Timbers_05
Timbers forward Darlington Nagbe (jersey designed by Adidas in Portland) plays against the LA Galaxy during a preseason match Feb. 8 in Carson, Calif.
Sometimes, you don’t need a season ticket to see the Timbers play a little "futbol." League-wide sponsor Adidas now has a major-league team in its own back yard — sometimes literally. While waiting for Jeld-Wen Field and the Adidas Timbers Training Center in Beaverton to be completed, the Timbers practiced on the small pitch behind Adidas’s North American headquarters on Greeley Avenue. Employees who had designed the team’s jerseys and shoes got to see the new gear come alive outside their office windows.

“The Timbers have been a fantastic organization to work with,” Adidas soccer business unit director Antonio Zea says. “We can’t play favorites, but by fact of proximity, we link with the team as much as possible.” Adidas has hosted press conferences with the Timbers to raise awareness of the team, the league and the brand. “People don’t know our headquarters is in Portland,” Zea says.

As the leading global soccer brand, Adidas is working with MLS to raise soccer’s profile in this country through sponsorship of local tournaments and clubs. The majority of soccer products sold by Adidas are to youth, according to Zea. “If you look at the pyramid of who’s playing, the base is 8- to 12-year-olds.” If these kids or their parents then decide to buy jerseys like their favorite pro players wear, all the better. And while Zea couldn’t confirm that the Timbers green home jersey was the best-selling jersey in MLS these days, he did say it’s a “top seller” with a proud grin.

Across the front of that green jersey are the white letters of the Timbers’ sponsor, Alaska Airlines. “This is the biggest sponsorship in our history, without exception,” says Alaska's managing director of marketing and communications Greg Latimer. “It was not an overnight decision.”

When MLS announced in March 2009 that the Timbers would be an expansion team, sponsorship of the team was on the airline’s radar, but “our financials were not in place at the time,” Latimer says. “It became more front-burner when we realized we had a problem in Portland. We were not performing as well as we should as an airline, financially.” Sponsorship of the Timbers, a community-minded sports organization with a rabid fan base, “allowed us to tell the Portland market ‘you matter to us,’” Latimer says.

The sponsorship extends beyond the season, with marketing efforts like painting an airplane with the Timbers colors and logo. Alaska Airlines signed a four-year deal with the Timbers, and the 2,300 Alaska Airlines employees in the Portland area are thrilled. “Even the non-soccer people are buying jerseys,” Latimer says.

All this brand visibility, including a billboard on Interstate 84, could generate what’s known as “activation” in sponsorship circles. The hope is to sign more travelers up for Alaska and Horizon credit cards and frequent-flier programs. The airline is doing its part to continue the community connection, too, by sponsoring Corners for Kids, which donates up to 40,000 miles per Timbers corner kick to the Children’s Cancer Association for families that need to travel while dealing with illness.

 



 

More Articles

Photo Log: Waterfront Blues Festival

The Latest
Thursday, July 09, 2015
bluesfestthumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The sweltering weather didn't keep the crowds away. Although the numbers were down slightly from last year, the Oregon Food Bank raised $850,636 to fight hunger.  About 80,000 people attended despite temperatures in the upper 90s.


Read more...

Reader Input: Road Work

March 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.


Read more...

Loose Talk

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

When gossip crosses the line.


Read more...

Wildcards

Guest Blog
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
072815fergusonthumbBY JASON NORRIS

Uncertainty in Greece and China, along with potential interest rate hikes mean investors are looking at the market and nervously questioning where they should be invested.


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


Read more...

Storyteller in Chief: Natural Prophets

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY SAM BLACKMAN

Storyteller-in-chief with the CEO and co-founder of Elemental Technologies.


Read more...

10 Innovators in Rural Health

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Telemedicine, new partnerships and real estate diversification make health care more accessible in rural Oregon.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS