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February 25, 2013
Brazilian boost for Orlando City, Sounders FC adds MatchPass benefit

By Charles Cuttone
Executive Editor

Seattle Sounders FC MatchPass holders will receive new concession discounts in 2013.
Seattle Sounders FC MatchPass holders will receive new concession discounts in 2013.
Photo courtesy Seattle Sounders FC
Orlando City SC might have taken a big step toward getting a Major League Soccer expansion franchise last week, with the announcement that Brazilian businessman Flávio Augusto da Silva has made a major investment in the club. The investment, believed to be $80 million, will be used for the club’s share of a privately/publicly-funded multipurpose soccer stadium in downtown Orlando and future acquisition of an MLS franchise. Da Silva would become the team's majority owner once it moves to MLS.

Da Silva's core business, the Ometz Group—which consists of 16 holding companies, including Brazil’s leading English-language schools for adults, and a FIFA World Cup sponsor, Wise Up -- was recently acquired by Abril Educação, one of Brazil’s largest media companies.

Orlando City SC wants to build an 18,500-seat stadium in downtown Orlando. The club is asking state, county and local governments to cover $75 million of the $105 million cost, and projects that the stadium and MLS franchise would create a $1.3 billion impact for the region over the next 30-years.

Florida Governor Rick Scott came out in favor of Orlando’s MLS bid last week, stating “I am very supportive and will do everything I can do at the state level.”

Membership has its rewards
Seattle Sounders FC, in partnership with the new concessionaire Delaware North Sportservice, have created a MatchPass program offering food and beverage discounts on match day from the time gates open until 30 minutes before first kick. Those discounts will include a pre-match meal for just $10, domestic beers for $5 and craft pints for $6.

Similar to the size of a credit card, MatchPass stores all 17 regular season match tickets and provides the holder the convenience to print, forward, sell or add other match tickets, including friendlies and MLS Cup playoffs. The new program is an add-on to that existing ticket option.

Last season, Sounders FC season ticket members were allowed to choose how they received their season tickets - either by MatchPass or paper tickets. More than 11,500 season ticket members opted for the card. This year, more than 25,000 season ticket members selected MatchPass. Starting in 2014, all season ticket members will receive MatchPass.

"MatchPass offers convenience, flexibility and rewards," said Sounders FC owner Joe Roth. "The MatchPass program also helps us identify behavior and tendencies in order to better customize promotions and experiences for our fans."

Sounders FC season ticket members who selected MatchPass are automatically enrolled in the team's rewards program. MatchPass holders earn points for regular activities such as arriving early and buying team merchandise or food/beverages at stadium concession stands. MatchPass points will be accrued each time the holders swipe their card.

Fans will be able to redeem their points for the rewards they choose, such as access to training sessions, match day sideline passes, opportunities to meet players on the field after matches and additional discounts. Fans also will be able to use MatchPass to redeem team performance promotions like free haircuts at Great Clips when the Sounders score three goals, or two free tacos at Jack in the Box after a Sounders shutout.

MatchPass also can be utilized as a stadium credit card. Members can transfer cash directly from their bank account to the card and will be eligible for promotional bonus dollars from the team.

Crew concessions
The Columbus Crew has announced new corporate partnerships with Papa John’s Pizza of Central Ohio and hometown White Castle restaurants. Both restaurants’ products will be offered at Crew Stadium concessions starting with the Crew’s opening match against the San Jose Earthquakes on March 16.

“We’re thrilled to welcome these valuable community partners to the Columbus Crew family,” said team Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Chris Previte. “Both Papa John’s and White Castle are well-recognized brands with highly respected food offerings that will now be available to fans of the Black & Gold at every home match. Additionally, they are active partners in our community and are excited about engaging with Crew fans in new and innovative ways.”

Papa John’s becomes the official pizza of the Columbus Crew and Crew Stadium, and will be sold in its own permanent in-stadium concession stand – located in the southeast corner of the main concourse – and in-stadium concession sales at southwest & northeast stadium stands. White Castle hamburgers will be offered on the Crew Stadium plaza as well as in the southwest and northeast concession stands.

Sponsor deals
Toronto FC and Labatt Breweries of Canada have agreed to a five-year team and stadium sponsorship with Budweiser. Budweiser will have pouring rights at BMO Field, in-stadium signage and branded merchandise.

Hills Welding and Engineering will be the title sponsor for the Santa Clarita Storm of the National Premier Soccer League.

The Rhode Island Reds (NPSL) have chosen Admiral as the club’s official sportswear and technical kit supplier for their 2013 season.

San Diego Boca FC has signed H2O Overdrive as the team’s Official Sports Hydration Drink for the 2013 NPSL Season.
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