OL Reign’s two-year partnership with Zulily — first secured in January 2019 — has concluded, the club announced on Wednesday. While the most prominent part of the sponsorship was Zulily’s logo on the front of OL Reign’s match jerseys, Zulily also sent birthday packages to players and found other opportunities across the two seasons to leverage its brand in support of OL Reign.
“We are deeply appreciative of the opportunity to work with Zulily over the past two years. They have been an engaged, collaborative partner who were always supportive of our efforts on and off the pitch,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore in the club’s announcement.
Zulily’s sponsorship of the Reign was announced alongside their partnership with the Seattle Sounders. Zulily will continue its partnership with the Sounders.
While reasons for the partnership’s conclusion were not explicitly called out by the Reign or Zulily, the recent growth of the league certainly played a role. Since Zulily entered the partnership at the start of 2019, attention on women’s soccer — and the NWSL in particular — has grown significantly. The World Cup provided a huge boost in the summer of 2019, and new sponsors helped the league see a 500% TV ratings increase last year.
“Over the past two years, the economic landscape of the NWSL has rapidly evolved leading to significant new opportunities for the league, its teams, and its partners,” said Predmore. “We believe that the sport, the league and our club are perfectly positioned to collaborate with brands who seek to connect with an audience that is engaged, vocal, and passionate about women’s sports.”
Predmore’s comments are reflected in the larger sponsorship deals NWSL clubs have sealed in recent years. Continental Tire sponsors the North Carolina Courage. Racing Louisville, entering the league this year, will have the GE Appliances logo on its match jerseys. And the Washington Spirit have a partnership with CVS Health, while other teams like the Portland Thorns, Sky Blue FC and Orlando Pride sought local health systems as sponsors.
Simply put, OL Reign’s value is higher in 2021 than it was in 2019, and they’re looking for a new partner that reflects that.
So, which logo might appear on the front of OL Reign jerseys this year? Here are 5 names we’d love to see.
Local Brand That Just Wants to Have Fun: Taco Time NW
Local brand. Unassuming logo. Pacific Northwest fun. Tater fries. What more could you want? The opportunities for matchday grub just speak for themselves. And in the words of our very own Steve Voght, “Unleash the BOGO crisp burritos for 3 goal games.”
Local Name With a Bold Mission: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Melinda Gates is a champion for more investment in women and girls. She established her own company to tackle that every day, in addition to her leadership at the Gates Foundation on the issue. What better way to show her commitment — and connection to the community — than with a sponsorship of the local women’s professional soccer team? She can be a champion for equal pay and equal treatment at the local level.
Can’t Get More Local Than This: MultiCare
MultiCare is a local health system based in Tacoma that already has a partnership with the Reign. They’ve also been the jersey sponsor for Tacoma Defiance. What better way to embrace and celebrate Tacoma — and expand their reach — than a larger partnership? It may not be as bold as other choices, but it certainly roots the team in Tacoma.
Fun Global Brand With Local Ties: Nintendo
The logo is already a perfect color match for OL Reign’s red, blue and gold color scheme. It would complement the new jerseys, which are likely already in production. A global company with a local tie? Another perfect match. Not to mention, the Nintendo Switch is the perfect accessory for players during their cross-country trips.
Global Brand with OL Connections: Mastercard
Money talks — and big companies have plenty of money to throw around. Mastercard became the sponsor for OL Reign’s sister team in Lyon last fall. In their announcement, Mastercard chief marketing officer Raja Rajamannar said, “OL continue to be a leading light in women’s sport and an organization with whom we are extremely proud to work with. We believe that investing in the pioneers of the game and supporting inspirational role models is essential for everyone to unleash their potential.” Why not extend the partnership into the U.S for the same reasons? The simple logo pairs nicely with OL Reign’s colors as well.
Who would you like to see become the new OL Reign jersey sponsor? Share your ideas in the comments.