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Having Friends in High Places Should Help Sounders

Yes, there is a "major announcement" tomorrow. No, I don't know what it is. The Sounder at Heart team is arranging coverage. Now, there is speculation that it may revolve around a possible announcement of a friendly, with Mayers linking an AP story.

Said AP story does focus on partnerships that  MLS is looking to develop with a few EPL clubs. Not necessarily friendlies, but it does mention three teams that will likely be in the USA this summer.

Some English clubs already play in the U.S. in the summer, with Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham possibly making the trip this July. Garber said helping to grow the sport is the next logical step for interested clubs.

"Whether it's an existing team or an expansion team is irrelevant to me," Garber said. "But I would see over the next number of years us continuing our connection with international football clubs, and having it go beyond representing them in the United States for brand development and fan opportunities."

Would those three be the right type of club for Seattle to host this summer? Absolutely, and there are numbers that prove it.

See, just this past week Deloitte released the top 20 revenue clubs in European Football. If there are three friendlies a year I would suggest that two should be off of that list EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Those 20 clubs, and a few others are name brands throughout the globe. They are not regionally recognized. They ARE football, anywhere.

Manchester United is 3rd on the list this year, and were second last year.  Their ownership issues dominate most news, but let's remember they sell out stadiums around the world.  In the past four years they have 7 domestic trophies and 2 internationals. Qwest would get a smattering of the Reds, but the international exposure for the Rave Green would sky rocket.

Manchester City are 19th. Their global identity is not quite as broad, their titles not nearly as extensive, but they have a solid reach in England and the Arab world. But this is still a well known brand, with history and one that obviously knows a thing or two about marketing.

Tottenham Hotspur makes the list as well. Fifteenth this year and 14th last. Seriously, the 'Spurs are another "non-Big Four" and yet they make millions, about 200M US$ in a year. That's big cash, and they two have a bit of a global, not just English following. Only one trophy in the last four years, they have the unique secondary benefit of being managed by a Sounder -Harry Redknapp.

Look at that list of 20 again.

It is a list of global football brands, and each would elevate the Sounders financially, and with exposure. Yes, one is on my "no friendly list" already. This list isn't just title winners, it is a list of powerhouses, financial gold mines, and probably the only clubs in Europe actually making money off of football these days.

While there are a few clubs in the Americas that make substantial revenue it is doubtful that any have the global appeal that this list of 20 does. The final team on the list earned ~120M US$ last year. For a comparison, the top revenue team in MLS in 2007 made 23M$, and in 2009 it is likely that the top revenue team in MLS (certainly the Sounders) made 30-35M US$.

If the Sounders are picking friendly opponents based on the ability to make money for themselves, to raise global awareness of their own brand and to create connections with the world's best it only makes sense that the top revenue earning clubs in Europe are the start of the conversation.


Oh, and tomorrow's announcement it could also be about a player signing, trade or transfer, but in light of the CBA I'll place my bet firmly on a friendly.

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