Avaya's deal with Earthquakes could signal trend of strategic partnerships between teams, IT firms

(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

After an eight month search, the San Jose Earthquakes signed a 10-year, $20 million naming rights deal with Avaya. As an IT firm, Avaya brings something other sponsors cannot: in-stadium communications technology. The company will also become the official business engagement, communication solutions and technology partner of the Earthquakes.

The 18,000 person stadium will be the first cloud-enabled sports venue, creating a unique fan environment that allows for interactive in-game experiences and social media sharing. Fans will be able to go beyond participating and really connect with the team. Avaya’s comprehensive technology solutions have allowed the Earthquakes to release an app with an array of features for fans including watching videos, ordering food, purchasing apparel and sending messages to the scoreboard.

Source: San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose Earthquakes

Avaya is no stranger to large projects. At Sochi, which was known as the “Social Media Olympics,”Avaya created the world’s largest guest network. The company also helped the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority — a $100 billion infrastructure agency for the world’s fastest growing city — improve its information systems and customer satisfaction. Strategic partnerships between sports teams and IT firms may be the future of sports as each successive stadium pushes the technological boundaries.

With a $100 million price tag for the stadium, the team and fans are getting a crown jewel for a home, as well as extra revenue for player transfers from the increased stadium capacity. Beyond the amenities, fans and the city get a new attraction just two miles from downtown San Jose.

Bay Area teams have benefited greatly from local IT companies. SAP, a German technology firm, bought the naming rights for the 49ers training grounds and the San Jose Sharks rink, while Cisco Systems has proposed a new San Jose ballpark for the Oakland Athletics. Though most teams do not have Silicon Valley in their backyard, it’s likely other franchises will look to IT firms for their own strategic partnerships.


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