With the 2015 MLS regular season quickly approaching, one item of unfinished business for the San Jose Earthquakes has been securing a jersey sponsorship. However, that to-do task may already be completed, as photos have emerged that show Stryker as a potential new sponsor.
Stryker Corporation, a medical devices and medial equipment technologies firm based in Michigan, is primarily known for its joint replacement products. The mulit-billion dollar Fortune 500 company has divisions throughout the U.S., including two business groups in the Bay Area: Stryker Neurovascular in Fremont and Stryker Endoscpy in San Jose. The company has invested in sports sponsorship before, with its orthopedics group striking a deal with the Professional Golf Association to be the tour's official joint replacement products.
The Earthquakes have been without a jersey sponsor since the conclusion of the 2011 season, when a three-year deal with Amway was ended. Supporters of the club have been clamoring for a replacement since then, hoping such a deal would provide a cash infusion that could be used to strengthen the Earthquakes roster.
San Jose has made many additions to the roster this offseason, including the signing of Swiss international Innocent Emeghara as the club's third Designated Player. Team president Dave Kaval signaled earlier this month that the team was not done increasing its player budget.
"We set out to open Avaya Stadium with three designated players that would elevate our total player spend into the top half of the League," said Kaval on the club's official website. "This level of investment has become a must in order to compete at the highest level."
Jersey sponsorship deals at other MLS clubs have netted more than a million dollars a year, though some have been for less than that. San Jose almost coupled its jersey sponsorship with its stadium naming rights when in negotiations with Avaya last year. Instead of taking both properties, Avaya focused on the stadium and now finds its name on the Earthquakes new facility.
It may be tempting to take these photos as truth, but it is equally possible that the Earthquakes were still in sales-mode and were hosting Stryker representatives at Avaya Stadium as a potential sponsor. However, should the latest leaks turn out to be true, the Earthquakes will take the field for their season opener wearing something that looks a lot like this:
(photo via @davidcito49)
Did the Earthquakes make the right decision? Are you pleased to see San Jose sign another striker, I mean, Stryker? Can't wait for the release of the Quakes secondary jersey as well? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.