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Originally published April 21, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Page modified April 21, 2010 at 9:17 PM

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Storm announces Bing logo on jerseys, Microsoft partnership

The Seattle Storm will sport jerseys with the Bing logo this season in a sponsorship deal announced Tuesday between Microsoft and the WNBA team.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Storm joined the latest WNBA fashion trend, selling space on its jersey to Bing, the decision engine from Microsoft, in a new sponsorship deal announced Wednesday.

The Bing logo will replace "Storm" and "Seattle" on home and away jerseys and warmup shirts. The multiyear deal is worth at least $1 million annually, according to Storm CEO Karen Bryant. It will include KeyArena advertising; joint promotions through Bing maps, video and visual search; integration between Bing and Storm scavenger hunt; and sponsorship of the Junior Storm Initiative community program.

Phoenix and Los Angeles initiated the trend last summer, selling the marquee jersey placement to LifeLock and Farmers Insurance, respectively. Both teams agreed to three-year deals reportedly worth $1 million, the WNBA standard for that type of sponsorship.

"This is not a company writing a check to put their name on a jersey," said Bryant, whose team became independently owned in 2008. "Clearly that will be the most visible piece of this partnership. But rest assured, behind the scenes, there's a lot of strategic conversation on how we build our businesses. To me, this is a significant step forward in achieving our ultimate objective, which is sustainability for the Storm."

Bing launched in June 2009 by Microsoft to compete with Google as a search-engine website. Danielle Tiedt, general manager of Bing marketing, said the Storm will help with exposure but may not be the only sports team the company is affiliated with in the future.

Microsoft already sponsors jerseys for Sounders FC through its video-game business, Xbox. Tiedt said Bing's focus will be on the Storm for now, especially since the WNBA pitches a family-friendly environment and 20 percent of Bing users are mothers.

"The thing that was really exciting about this opportunity was the (Storm) fan base," said Tiedt, whose site garners 12 percent of search traffic, according to research firm comScore. "The ability to engage with that really active base, for someone building a new brand, is gold."

Storm veterans Ashley Robinson, Swin Cash and Camille Little wore their new jerseys at the news conference. The official unveiling will be May 2 for Seattle's exhibition game against Phoenix.

WNBA president Donna Orender said the remaining nine teams are trying to negotiate similar deals. Although American fans are split on the look of reducing team monikers to a logo in favor of sponsor names displayed across the chest, it's standard in MLS and European sports. The NFL allows sponsor patches on practice jerseys.

"This is going to be good for the league and our team," Little said.

Times technology reporter Sharon Chan contributed to this article. Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or

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UPDATE - 7:10 PM
Storm re-signs Swin Cash to multiyear deal

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