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MLS San Jose Earthquakes Ink Sponsorship Deal With PayPal

James Murphy
by in Soccer on
  • The Major League Soccer San Jose Earthquakes have announced a 10 year sponsorship deal with PayPal.
  • The deal includes naming rights to the team’s soccer-only stadium, now called PayPal Park.
  • The Earthquakes’ venue was previously sponsored by Avaya, which filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

Sponsorship rights in sports are big money and they’re not limited to the ‘major sports’ like NFL football or NBA basketball. Earlier today, the Major League Soccer (MLS) San Jose Earthquakes announced a ten-year sponsorship deal with online payments giant PayPal. The agreement includes naming rights to the Earthquakes’ 18,000 seat soccer only stadium, now to be called PayPal Park. PayPal will also have a jersey arm patch and a luxury stadium suite. The overall value of the deal is a hefty $20 million USD plus.

No surprise that retrofitting the venue with PayPal point of sale (POS) technology is a part of the agreement. The stadium will be equipped with technology including touch free QR codes. Fans paying with PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) or Venmo will get an ‘express lane’ for quicker service. It would be funny if they made fans paying with GooglePay or CashApp wait in a longer line but they’re presumably not going to do that. There are plenty of teams that are implementing touch free and cash free payment options for the post COVID era and now the Earthquakes conveniently have a naming sponsor that specializes in this industry.

Earthquakes chief operating officer Jared Shawlee said in a statement he couldn’t be happier to find such a deep pocketed highly respected naming partner for the team:

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to find a stadium naming rights partner that aligns with our vision of uplifting the local community. PayPal is a highly respected global brand with its headquarters less than two miles from our front office. We’re excited to partner on a number of initiatives that aim to support local small businesses and underserved youth, while also making the stadium a more touchless experience for our guests.”

PayPal CEO and president Dan Schulman said the deal was made in part due to his company’s commitment to the San Jose area:

“PayPal is deeply committed to San Jose, and we are excited to partner with the San Jose Earthquakes to introduce PayPal Park to our passionate Quakes community and local small businesses. This is a unique opportunity to partner with a valued sporting brand and strong community of fans, as we draw on our digital payments technology and work together to redefine the future of live event experiences.”

News of the deal was first reported by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, which also including this quote from Schulman:

“I know there has been a lot of decentralization of different companies and stories about companies leaving the Valley, but we are very committed to our headquarters community.”

“I just think that PayPal Park can be one of the centers of San Jose. That part of San Jose is certainly developing quite rapidly, and we’re really excited to be a key component of that development.”

The Earthquakes’ luck with sponsors appears to have improved dramatically. Their previous naming sponsor was Avaya but that didn’t work out too well–the telecommunications firm filed for bankruptcy in 2017. The venue has been known as Earthquakes Stadium ever since. That’s not likely to happen to PayPal, a company with a market cap of nearly $300 billion USD and an eye toward the future. Apparently, the Earthquakes had decided to target PayPal as a potential sponsor but the payment giant approached them first.

PayPal made news in late March when they added a comprehensive cryptocurrency payment functionality called ‘Checkout with Crypto’. Earlier in the year, PayPal began offering in-app purchases of Bitcoin, Ethereum and other major cryptocurrencies. Presumably, you’ll be able to buy concessions at PayPal Park and pay for it with your crypto balance.

At the time of publication, James Murphy has a long position in PYPL.

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