07 July 2006

Alioto named Quakes Exec VP

In a move that foretells the A's acquisition of Earthquakes v. 3.0, the team's sales and marketing veep, David Alioto, has accepted the newly created position of Executive VP of Earthquakes Soccer, LLC. According to the press release, Alioto "will oversee business operations, sponsorship opportunities, develop sponsorship opportunities and assist in venue development surrounding A's ownership's attempt at securing a soccer specific stadium in the Bay Area for a Major League Soccer franchise."

Basically, it means Alioto will be doing for the Quakes what Michael Crowley currently does as President of the A's - except there's no team yet, of course. Good luck to Alioto on negotiating the extremely murky waters that define San Jose politics. Alioto may end up leaning a bit on both Crowley's and Lew Wolff's South Bay local status to get the SSS deal done. I'd like to see the Quakes get the benefit of some clever McCann-Erickson ad campaigns, the same kinds used for the A's the last couple of years.

From a strategic standpoint, there's something attractive about being able to pool certain parts of operations for the two teams. The seasons run concurrently, so some stadium operations can be consolidated. Sponsorship opportunities can be pitched to cater to the different audiences. Packages of club seats and suites may look attractive if they're for two teams (and all related venues' events) instead of just one. The ballpark financing concept is already out-of-the-box, why not sales as well? (Trivia note: According to Andrew Zimbalist's splendid book In the Best Interests of Baseball?, MLB Advanced Media runs the MLS website.)