Seattle Sounders ownership, players excited about new Zulily partnership

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders unveiled Seattle-based online retailer Zulily as its official jersey partner on Thursday at an event at PACCAR Pavilion.

Sounders Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer and Zulily Senior Vice President of Marketing Kevin Saliba spoke while Sounders players Jordan Morris, Román Torres and Chad Marshall modeled the kits. The event shepherds in a new era of Sounders FC with a long-term partnership.

Hanauer began conversations with Zulily’s senior leadership toward the end of last summer into early fall. The two companies share many similarities — Zulily was founded in 2009, has strong ties to the community and is heavily invested in giving back — so the union is one that has both sides thrilled.

“What I’m most excited about is the overall spirit of the partnership,” said Hanauer. “It’s easy to write a check and put a logo on something. It’s much harder to commit the kind of resources that Zulily has talked about in terms of people and emotional energy and dollars to make sure that this is a fully integrated partnership.”

Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer speaks at the Zulily jersey sponsor launch | Jane Gershovich

For players, who have worn jerseys with the same sponsor since the club’s MLS debut in 2009, the change from Xbox will be different, but one they are welcoming.

“It’s super exciting, I think [the new jersey] looks great,” said Morris. “Xbox was a great sponsor, but we’re really excited that we have another Seattle company. It’s cool to tie that all in.

“You see how much support there is for the team and sports in general in Seattle, so to tie that into the community is really cool, especially growing up here, it’s an exciting partnership for sure.”

Sounders FC defender Chad Marshall, forward Jordan Morris and defender Román Torres at the Zulily jersey sponsor launch | Mike Fiechtner

Added Marshall: “I think it looks great. You find out you’re getting a new sponsor and you wonder what it’s going to look like because you’re so used to what it’s been like for the last 10 years, but I think their new logo is sweet. I really like it.”

The Sounders did a soft unveiling of the new jersey on Wednesday at Zulily headquarters in downtown Seattle, and the energy from their 1,000-person office was palpable.

“It seemed like a big family over there [at Zulily],” said Marshall. “It’s very similar to what we’re all about at the Sounders. Any time we can keep it local and be about Seattle and grow together, it’s going to make for a great partnership.”

The Sounders will first don the new kits in a preseason international friendly against Uruguay’s Club Nacional at CenturyLink Field on Feb. 20 (7:30 p.m. PT) before hosting expansion side FC Cincinnati in the MLS season-opener on March 2 (7 p.m. PT). Thursday’s launch was the first great step of many over the course of what will assuredly be a potent partnership.

“It was kind of a non-starter for us to pick a company that was based somewhere else,” said Hanauer. “Hopefully this helps Zulily obtain and recruit and be an even bigger part of the community. We’ll lock arms and hopefully amplify what we’re already doing and what they’re already doing and make an even larger impact.”