Seattle Sounders FC has hired CAA Sports to explore opportunities in the marketplace for their jersey partnership, beginning with the 2014 MLS season, the club announced this afternoon. CAA Sports will use its expertise and business partnerships to assist Sounders FC in securing the most suitable partner. One year currently remains in the five-year jersey agreement between Sounders FC and Xbox.
Since entering the league in 2009, Seattle has cemented itself among the elite on the pitch, holding the second-best record in Major League Soccer (MLS) with a 54-29-33 record. Sounders FC is the only expansion team in league history to earn a trip to the postseason each of its first three seasons.
Seattle set an MLS record for attendance with an average of 30,897 during their inaugural season in 2009, only to surpass that mark in 2010 with an average of 36,173 and again in 2011 with an average of 38,498. This season, Sounders FC has continued to set the standard by averaging 41,480. Seattle's current mark would rank fourth in Italian Serie A, and fifth in Spanish La Liga, sixth in the English Premier League, 13th in German Bundesliga.
Seattle's 2012 attendance average would also currently rank fifth in MLB and first in the NBA and NHL. Last season, Sounders FC drew 654,431 fans for MLS matches and is on pace for more than 700,000 fans this season.
Sounders FC television ratings have raised the bar for MLS, ranking first in the league, and would rank in the top third in the NHL and top half in the NBA, according to CAA.
Sounders FC has set the bench mark off the field as well. Seattle has led MLS in merchandise sales each of its first three full seasons. The team's website, SoundersFC.com, is the most visited club website in MLS with more than 48 million page views and six million visitors since the club's launch in 2009. The team has nearly 270,000 likes on Facebook and has more than 50,000 followers on twitter.
CAA Sports is a division of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world's leading entertainment and sports agency. CAA Sports has extensive presence in the soccer marketplace, as the agency represents top European clubs Chelsea Football Club and FC Barcelona and also owns and operates the Herbalife World Football Challenge, an annual North American tour of friendly matches between top international teams, which this year included the Sounders FC vs. Chelsea on July 18 at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.
Other CAA Sports clients include Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden and the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., set to open in 2014.
CAA Sports represents more than 650 of the world's best athletes in such sports as baseball, football, hockey, basketball, soccer, tennis, and golf, in addition to coaches, on-air broadcasters, and sports personalities.
Beyond traditional athlete representation, CAA Sports provides unique opportunities for clients off the field, in areas including licensing, endorsements, speaking, philanthropy, and video games.