Steve Goff broke the news today that Volkswagen will not be renewing their sponsorship deal for D.C. United's jerseys. The team and the car manufacturer signed an initial 5-year, $14 million dollar deal in 2008; that deal was renewed after the 2012 season, but Volkswagen declined their option for 2014. D.C. United had been preparing for this possibility, and have apparently been in talks with six companies, all of whom are American companies with global business operations. Mike Schoenbrun, the recently hired Vice President for Business Development, said that the team is on a good path for a 2014 sponsor.
Prior to the Volkswagen logo, D.C. United had not had a main front-of-the-jersey logo. The MasterCard logo was featured on D.C. United's jerseys from 1996 to 2001 and there was Sierra Mist branding on the jerseys and shorts from 2005 to 2007; however, both of these deals were negotiated as part of the league's overall sponsorship deals and not by D.C. United itself.
Now begins the speculation as to whom the next jersey sponsor might be. (Ed. - Speculation has been going on for a while now.) I think that a company with substantial local roots is the most likely, as happened with the Chicago Fire and Sporting Kansas City when they recently changed jersey sponsors. Capital One, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman all spring to mind as large local companies who might want to get into the sponsorship business, but I am sure that there are plenty of smaller groups who might want to use such a deal to get their name out there. Who do you think will be the next jersey sponsor for D.C. United?