Timbers' Jerseys Take Flight With Alaska
As travelers, baggage handlers, flight attendants, pilots, and field crew busily hustled through the to and fro at Portland International Airport early this morning, they were greeted by the unmistakable sound of a chainsaw piercing through the din of jets taking off and landing. In front of an assembled crowd, Portland Timbers Owner and President Merritt Paulson stated, “For the record, this is the first time I think I’ve seen a chainsaw in PDX.”
Today, the illustrious Timber Joey and his chainsaw accompanied Paulson and a host of Alaska Airlines employees to announce the new partnership between the two organizations: Alaska Airlines is to become the Major League Soccer (MLS) Portland Timbers’ official team airline and brand new jersey sponsor.
This is a big deal. Jersey sponsors can say a great deal about the character of a team and its place in its community. You want to find a partner that makes sense from a fan perspective, a business perspective, and a team perspective. Sure, it won’t make players run faster or kick with more accuracy, but getting a good partner on board brings a certain mark of authenticity and achievement. It is one more step towards the arrival of MLS. As Alaska Airlines Vice President of Marketing Joe Sprague put it, “Alaska [Airlines] and the Portland Timbers are a lot alike. With strong roots in the Portland community spanning three decades, both organizations aim to be ambitious, innovative, and both organizations have very loyal fans and customers.“ Moreover, with over 2,000 Alaska Airlines and affiliate employees living in the Portland area, picking up a few thousand new fans isn’t bad either. Sprague continued, “We are proud to join the Timbers Army in cheering on our home team for their inaugural MLS season.” While actual MLS Timbers uniforms and training gear with the Alaska Airlines logo won’t be unveiled until this coming December, it is also interesting to note that this is the first airline jersey sponsor in MLS history. Granted, getting a chainsaw through the airport may be a bit of a challenge down the road, but it will be nice to have some new airline friends to help.
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer