After going sponsorless for the 2011 season, the Columbus Crew hit the jersey sponsor trifecta on Wednesday.
Perio, Inc., based in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, will have its Barbasol shaving products name front and center on all Crew jerseys at every level beginning this year as a part of a five-year, multimillion-dollar contract.
The deal includes the Barbasol mark on the Crew’s training and game jerseys; retail and youth team shirts; TV, radio and print advertising along with the new field-level LED signage in Crew stadium. Barbasol will also market select cans of their products with the Crew logo in central Ohio.
John Wagner, president of Hunt Sports Group and owner of the Crew, hailed the agreement in an interview with MLSsoccer.com.
“It’s a great day for the organization, one of those milestone days a team has in its history because of the length of the commitment, the quality of the company and local proximity," Wagner said, ticking off the three boxes teams crave when searching for a kit sponsor. "The fans now have a sponsor they can rally behind.”
And it's one with sporting roots stretching nearly a century.
“Barbasol has a long and rich tradition of connecting with sports,” Perio, Inc. president and CEO Thomas Murray said during a press conference at Crew Stadium. "We go back to the 1920s."
In fact, among the sports celebrities featured nearly a century ago were Babe Ruth and legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne.
“That’s awesome,” Crew president and general manager Mark McCullers told MLSsoccer.com. “When you look at their history and tradition in sports marketing, it’s a sense of pride to be in that company of the athletes and different sports they’ve been involved in. It’s really cool to be a part of that family.”
The deal could boost the Crew’s effort to secure stadium naming rights for the first time and double the season-ticket base to 10,000.
“It gives us a lot of credibility that a company like Barbasol sees value in us,” McCullers said. “It helps with our relevance. We’ve got a jersey sponsor, which is a major asset and significant investment, and it probably causes other companies to take note and say, ‘You know what? Maybe we should be talking to the Crew.’
“To have someone make this investment really makes the discussion with a stadium naming rights partner a little bit different, a little bit better,” he added.