1) Jersey sponsorship besieges Seattle's WNBA team, further blurring the line between the city and the world's biggest software company. Worth $1 million annually, a new partnership between the WNBA's Seattle Storm and Microsoft will replace the team's nickname on the front of their home and away jerseys (and warm-ups) with the Bing logo. The new jerseys were unveiled yesterday.
The Storm join the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury (LifeLock) and Los Angeles Sparks (Farmers Insurance) as teams with corporate logos on the front of their jerseys. All three sponsorships have fetched the $1 million per year price tag.
And in case you were thinking, like Storm CEO Karen Bryant thinks you might be, that this is just "a company writing a check to put their name on a jersey," you would be sorely mistaken. "Rest assured," Bryant continued, "behind the scenes, there's a lot of strategic conversation on how we build our businesses. To me, this is a significant step forward in achieving our ultimate objective, which is sustainability for the Storm." Isn't the $1 million a major contributor to team sustainability?
But, I can't pick on the WNBA because most soccer teams around the various leagues throughout the world are heavily reliant upon corporations for jersey sponsorships. Which brings me to Seattle's other non-big four team (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), the MLS' Seattle Sounders. The Sounders, who are also partnered with Microsoft, play their home games at Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field.
Stadium signage at Qwest Field in Seattle.
And, of course, "Xbox 360" graces the team's jerseys - including these new alternate jerseys released just this week.
On the bright side, literally, the Sounders jerseys can glow in the dark.
They've been called "electric" or "rave" jerseys, but I see it more as the Sounders attempting to one-up those horrific Seattle Seahawks alternates. If talking about NFC West uniform changes excites you, you'll be happy to know that the Arizona Cardinals released a black jersey yesterday, FYI.
2) Back to speaking about technology corporations, Sony announced this week that subscribers to MLB.tv will now be able to stream baseball games via Playstation 3 game consoles. Credit to Major League Baseball, whose online service is now available via Roku and Boxee devices, cellphones, and the iPad.
The logo is quite clever.
So, it's quite interesting to see how the various leagues embrace technology and new delivery methods for content, but Robert Bowman, the chief executive for MLB Advanced Media, (from the NYT article linked above) believes that these technological services (like the Playstation-MLB agreement) are complementing cable and satellite TV viewing instead of replacing them. Bowman believes "There's no empirical evidence I see that our fans are substituting one for the other."
Interesting. Perhaps it's because only the most devoted fans are paying for the MLB.tv package, so they're more likely to invest in all types of media instead of substitute. But, could there be a day when a a cable or satellite TV subscription is as useless as home phone service? It seems reasonable to believe that, as technology is diffused, users could swap TV subscriptions for Internet viewing, as many already do. Apparently for Bowman, a true switchover is still a comfortable distance away.
3) Drew Brees is the latest NFLer to take on the devastating Madden cover curse, as the New Orleans Saints QB and Super Bowl XLIV MVP was voted by fans to grace the cover of the popular NFL video game franchise. Previous curse victims include Daunte Culpepper, Marshall Faulk, Michael Vick, Ray Lewis, Donovan McNabb, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young, and Troy Polamalu.
Brees seems unfazed, however. When asked last week about winning the voting contest that matched him against Colts receiver Reggie Wayne and Vikings lineman Jared Allen, he said "I'm not rooting against it. If it does happen, just like records are made to be broken, curses are made to be broken too. If the fans have spoken, if I am indeed their vote, then I'll do my best to break the trend."
So, which is the story you care least about this week?