Sounders, Puyallup Tribe announce multi-year sponsorship

The Seattle Sounders are set to launch their latest away jersey on Thursday. When they do, they’ll have some distinctly Northwest flair on their sleeves.

The Sounders introduced the Puyallup Tribe as the Official Casino and Entertainment Partner of the team in a multi-year partnership on Tuesday. Highlighting the partnership, the team’s primary kit will feature the EQC logo, while the secondary kit sleeve will showcase the Puyallup Tribe’s official emblem, “a nod to the tribe’s impactful Coast Salish traditions,” according to a release from the team. The partnership will continue through 2027.

While the terms of the agreement were not made public, it is believed to be worth at least $1 million a year. This replaces the WaFd sleeve sponsorship the Sounders announced last July.

Emerald Queen Casino is owned and operated by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. Originally a riverboat at the Port of Tacoma Waterway, Emerald Queen Casino & Hotel expanded into two sprawling casino properties in Fife and Tacoma. The Tacoma facility opened in summer 2020 at an estimated cost of $400 million.

“Sounders FC is proud to deepen the club’s relationship with the Puyallup Tribe and its Emerald Queen Casino, and we are honored to have both in our club’s family of partners,” said Sounders FC President of Business Operations Peter Tomozawa in a release. “The Puyallup people have been an integral part of the Puget Sound region since the very beginning, and as a leading Coast Salish tribe, their proud history and dedication to the area continues to this day.”

The Puyallup Tribe hardly needs an introduction to local fans, having played a pivotal role in Western Washington’s development. In the Lushootseed language, the Puyallup Tribe’s name translates to “the people from the bend at the bottom of the river.” The Puyallups have more than 5,000 active members. A release provided by the team notes the Puyallups play a major role in both the local and regional economy, as the Tribe and its subsidiaries generate nearly $700 million in revenue each year and serve collectively as the fifth-largest employer in Pierce County.

For the Sounders, the partnership will provide an additional financial boost to the club, especially important given the havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic. The Sounders are set to welcome fans back to Lumen Field for games this April, but attendance will be far below the customary 38,000 the team is used to seeing.

In 2018, the league announced that teams could begin selling sponsored sleeve patches on team uniforms. The initiative was a four-year pilot program, and available only to those clubs that had already secured a primary jersey sponsor.

Previous estimates put sleeve partnership revenues at between $500,000 and $1 million annually. A source with knowledge of this deal placed the total value of the partnership at the highest end of that range.

“We are thrilled that Emerald Queen Casino is now Sounders FC’s Official Casino and Entertainment Partner,” said Frank Wright, Emerald Queen Casino General Manager in a release. “One of our most important cultural principles as a tribe is that of being welcoming and inclusive, and we know that the Sounders also live this belief. We’re looking forward to utilizing EQC’s new relationship with the team to deepen our roots within sports entertainment, strengthening soccer across the region and creating opportunities to give back.”

Additionally, Sounders FC’s charitable arm, RAVE Foundation, will work with the Tribe on initiatives, including to provide underserved communities in the area with mini-pitch courts and provide safe recreational outdoor areas for kids to play.

Comments

Love it

This is great!

So refreshing to see a tribe on a jersey as a sponsor, rather than the team name or mascot.

I like the logo on the sleeve

Think it adds a great design element to the jersey.

I also think it is time the Sounders do a pre-game land acknowledgement that we are on th unceeded lands of the Coast Salish people. I think all sports teams should do that, but with this partnership it seems like a pretty natural time to add that into the pregame. I mean if we have a National Anthem I don’t see why we shouldn’t have a land acknowledgement.

I am in general pro-land acknowledgment

but land acknowledgment without divestment of resources to Indigenous people is useless, so maybe do the acknowledgment and also pay rent to the Duwamish

love the sponsor deal tho, hope something similar is happening with the Reign, who are right there on Puyallup treaty land

I agree that paying rent to the Duwamish would make it better

And also believe that a professional sports team doing a land acknowledgement would still be a very good step.

Tend to agree that sometimes an acknowledgement without actions can seem like performance, but I think more people then we realize don’t even think to acknowledge that we are on the unceeded lands of the coast Satish people and that awareness to that can be an important first step.

Love this

Especially love the Rave Foundations efforts in creating mod soccer fields around the Puget Sound area. Hope they continue to ramp those efforts up.

And here we go...

Let’s first stipulate that I’m a dinosaur on this subject…

When I look at the primary kit sponsorships in the EPL, most of them are online sports gambling websites. I’m not a fan of gambling and have seen too much damage to good people sitting in the sports book in Vegas who can’t control their addiction(s). I strongly support Tribal sovereignty and many Tribal public policy goals, but am pretty uncomfortable with promoting gambling through professional, and especially collegiate, sports sponsorships. Would prefer a straight-up sponsorship of the Sounders by the Tribe in the Tribe’s name. Hoping this doesn’t lead to more gambling-related kit sponsorships across MLS. Maybe there’s more sponsorships like these in the league, just don’t know and I’m a little worried about this.

Anyway, the dinosaur is going back to the museum…

Based on conversations I have had with folks with knowledge

Support groups for gambling is on the rise with people home all day (as well as other meetings for support). So it’s fine to feel uncomfortable with it being a casino, you wont be alone in that feeling.

I am kinda in the same boat in regards to a betting sponsor on their shirt

I am very glad they are going with the Puyallup Tribal logo instead on the secondary shirt, which I was planning on buying.

Well articulated.

And I agree. Very happy for the tribal-Sounders partnership; much less excited that it’s the gambling wing of the tribe that is on the sleeve.

How do you feel about beer company sponsorships of sports teams?

Not a fan, but...

…in my naive beer-free state, I believe beer sponsorships have less potential to (in a worst-case scenario) impact the outcome of competitions. Still, gambling addiction is just as insidious as alcohol or worse. Not a saint here, just have seen a lot and firmly believe in the adage about the "camel’s nose under the tent."

Yep

The Sounders have sold their sleeves to a third rate Casino. Calling it anything else is lipsticking the pig.

I won’t wear that ad.

Puyallup tribe is more than just their casino

And the away shirt won’t even have the casino logo

tbh all I can ever say to people bothered by how tribes make revenue

is maybe give the land back and pay some reparations, ‘cause tribal casinos didn’t pop up unbidden, they’re a specific response to an ongoing political project of dispossession and displacement

Exactly, thank you.

If the new kit is going to be that purple/orange/yellow monstrosity, you have nothing to worry about.

I absolutely hate sleeve ads.

Nothing says lower level league like multiple jersey ads, in my opinion.

That said, it could be worse. Though if they used the tribe logo for all jerseys instead of the EQC logo, I’d hate it less.

I mean, the PL has them?

It doesn’t say lower level leagues anymore when one of the top leagues in the world has them

which leagues DON'T allow sleeve ads?

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