At the Xbox Pitch at Qwest FieldMicrosoft is really pulling all the stops to get the Xbox brand out to the public. The Seattle Sounders Football Club has announced having signed an agreement with the Redmond based company regarding advertising and promotion. The Sounders will play in the first league of the Major League Soccer beginning with spring 2009.
As part of the agreement, the football team is going to take the field wearing newly designed jerseys. They are pretty green and feature a rather big logo spelling out "Xbox 360 LIVE". The home field of the Seattle Sounders will be referred to as "The Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field" and Xbox and Microsoft will be presented as sponsors at all the events that involve the football team. It also seems that the Xbox 360 will be officially recognized by the Major League Soccer as the exclusive video game console of the soccer league.
It appears that Xbox 360 billboards will show up at most if not every Major League Soccer game and at all the actions organized by the league. The deal also allows Microsoft and the Xbox 360 the right to use all team marks along with logos and marketing assets at events such as the Pepsi MLS All-Star Game and at the MLS Cup.
Joe Roth, who owns the Sounders Club, said that "This is a defining moment for the entire soccer community. We took a very strategic approach in our search for a presenting partner. In our minds it was critical to partner with a locally based, international company with a strong brand, a culture similar to our own, and a commitment to our community. The Xbox reputation for providing products and entertainment experiences that bring people together to compete, hang out and have fun, makes them a perfect partner for our organization".
It might seem that soccer fans in the United States are unlikely candidates for Xbox promotion, but Microsoft says that it is doing the advertising agreement mainly because of the need for brand recognition.
Robbie Bach, who is the president of the Entertainment and Devices Division of Microsoft, stated that "Teaming with the Seattle Sounders FC and Major League Soccer is a perfect combination for Microsoft and Xbox 360. Xbox 360 is the new home for sports, and our goal is to entertain a global audience. Sponsoring our hometown team playing the world's favorite sport marked a great opportunity for Microsoft to support our local community and further associate the Xbox 360 brand with soccer's international appeal".