Seattle Reign FC is about to enter its fourth year as a professional sports team, and if today's marketing announcements and actions are any indication, the team is ready to make a name for itself in global women's soccer and the Seattle sports community.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, between midnight and 3:00 a.m., Seattle Reign staff traveled around town leaving new Reign scarves in public places. Tags on the scarves featured details about the team's home opener. Extra scarves were placed along 4th Avenue in recognition of Reign FC's fourth season.
The lucky Seattleites who found a scarf were invited to use it as a ticket to attend Reign FC's kit unveiling event later in the evening at the Hard Rock Cafe. The big news at this event -- attended by more than 100 media, season ticket holders, and partners -- was the announcement of a new sponsor for this year's kits. The Reign found one of the most globally recognized names in Microsoft.
This year's kits feature a "Black, Blue, and Bold" theme.
The kits are available immediately for purchase at www.reignfcshop.com. The home jerseys will be worn this Saturday, April 9, when the Reign take on the University of Washington in its annual Community Shield Match. While free, tickets are required for the match, and Reign FC announced they have already "sold out" the preseason game.
Having a name like Microsoft behind the Reign is huge on so many levels. It emphasizes the faith Microsoft has in the Reign as a long-term partner, and embedded in that is a message that serves to strengthen women's soccer.
The sponsorship doesn't just help bring Reign FC to the masses, it also makes business sense for the team. With the partnership, the Reign will be able to utilize Microsoft hardware, software, and Cloud services. This includes Surface Pro 4 devices for training, Microsoft Azure for the website, a custom .NET ticketing system, Microsoft Power BI for data analysis, and other Microsoft basics to support all back-office operations.
Having access to these resources is critical for a team that is still young and has an extremely limited budget.
"I am a firm believer that player data can be utilized to improve player and team performance and to better manage the fitness of our players," said Reign head coach Laura Harvey. "Microsoft's sports science and analytics platform provides our club with a powerful, easy-to-use way to develop actionable insights from the data we collect."
The partnership was partially the result of Microsoft's growing interest in contributing to sports science and analytics.
"We are excited to work with an organization like the Reign that shares in the vision for how technology can impact the game," said Tim Mallalieu, partner group manager at Microsoft. "We will focus on using the Microsoft Cloud to deliver added value, advanced analytics and actionable insights from team and player data that the Reign will be able to use to prevent injury while maximizing athlete readiness and team performance."
Reign FC has already sold three times the amount of season tickets as last year, and has a much more favorable schedule this year. The new Microsoft partnership, combined with a much larger focus on promotion and marketing, hopefully means even bigger growth for the Reign this year.