PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland's newest soccer team, the Portland Thorns FC, unveiled the uniforms for their inaugural season Tuesday, which happen to double as roving billboards for three Portland businesses.
The concept of jersey sponsorship isn't unique to soccer, but it's certainly a far more accepted practice in that sport than in others. Seattle-based carrier Alaska Airlines, for example, has been the jersey sponsor of Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers since their debut in the league two years ago.
The Thorns, the sister club to the Timbers, will make their debut on Saturday in Kansas City as part of the new National Women's Soccer League, wearing jerseys bearing the logos of two local businesses.
Providence Health & Services is the Thorns' primary kit sponsor in a multi-year deal that will have the company's logo featured prominently on the front of the primary red home jerseys and white road jerseys.
Tualatin-based mattress retailer Parklane Mattresses is the secondary sponsor, with its logo featured on the back of the jerseys below each player's number.
While those companies are the club's official jersey sponsors, another local company's logo will appear on every element of the kit: Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE).
Much like Portland's Adidas America Inc. is the official apparel provider to MLS, Nike will outfit the entire eight-team NWSL.
The jersey sponsorship isn't Providence's first link-up with Portland's soccer clubs, both of which are owned by Merritt Paulson. The health system is also a partner to the Timbers and operates the 12,000-square-foot Providence Sports Care Center at the southeast corner of JELD-WEN Field.
The Thorns will make their JELD-WEN Field debut on April 21 against Seattle Reign FC.
The Portland Business Journal is a KATU News partner.