BY ERIC D. WILLIAMS
The News Tribune
Seattle Seahawks fans looking for a new way to support their team will have another opportunity to do so beginning Tuesday.
Washington State Lottery officials are expected to announce a partnership between the state agency and the Seahawks Tuesday morning, introducing a new scratch game that will use the team's logo.
Called Seahawks Winning Play Scratch, the agency is billing the new game as the first professional football scratch ticket available in the country.
The tickets can be purchased in local stores beginning on Tuesday and also will be sold at the team's home games at Qwest Field this season.
Although financial terms have not been disclosed, details of the agreement obtained by The News Tribune from team sources show the ticket features a top prize of $50,000, and also highlights the possibility of a fans' dream trip, including, hotel, air fare and tickets to the upcoming Super Bowl and Pro Bowl in Miami.
At the NFL owners meeting this spring, team owners voted unanimously to allow stamping state and local lottery tickets with franchise logos. Several teams, including the New England Patriots and Washington Redskins, already have taken advantage of the new rule.
The Seahawks already had a business partnership with the state lottery in place, allowing the state agency to advertise at venues like Qwest Field, so the deal is seen as the next step in the partnership between the two sides, said league spokesperson Brian McCarthy.
However, the league still frowns on the direct betting of game outcomes on the field, and views the lottery deal as a clear distinction between sports betting. The NFL is currently fighting a ruling by the Delaware's Supreme Court that allows sports betting in that state.
The state lottery partnering with a sports team is nothing new. The Seattle Mariners creating a partnership with the state lottery on scratch games to help earn money to pay for the construction of Safeco Field in 1995.
League owners also approved adding corporate logos on its teams practice jerseys during its annual meeting this spring, and like the lottery agreement, several teams are taking advantage of the new ruling.
Team sources have confirmed that the Seahawks are in negotiations with another business to put their logo on the team's practice jersey. WNBA teams like the Phoenix Mercury already allow corporate advertising on the front of their team jerseys. The league does not allow corporate logos on team game jerseys at present, and appears a long way from going down the road – for now.
"You never say never," McCarthy said about team's putting business advertisements on the front of NFL team jerseys, similar to European professional team jerseys, but also said that's unlikely to happen in the future.
The league views the new rules approved by the owners as new ways for the league to increase revenue during the current downturn in the economy.
However, even with a struggling economy, fans are still supporting the team. The Seahawks have a 90 percent renewal rate in season tickets and are expected to sell out again this season. Single-game tickets will go on sale sometime in early August. Seattle has sold out 52 straight home games, including playoffs. That last game not sold out was a season-opening home contest against New Orleans to begin the 2003 season, which drew 52, 250 fans.