FC Dallas, one of five MLS teams without a jersey sponsorship, is losing its stadium naming rights partner as well. Pizza Hut Park will be no more as of January 8, team officials confirmed. After that date, the 20,500-seat facility in suburban Frisco, Texas, will be known as FC Dallas Stadium until a new sponsor is secured.
“Pizza Hut, as the company has recently shown with some of its other venue agreements, has shifted its sports marketing philosophy and will no longer be our naming rights partner,” team officials said in a statement.
The only soccer-specific stadium in MLS that currently lacks a naming rights partner is Columbus Crew Stadium. Both the Crew and FC Dallas are owned by Hunt Sports Group, which was founded by the late Lamar Hunt and now run by his son, Clark.
Ratings and viewership improved for the 2009 MLS Cup.
Real Salt Lake’s victory over the L.A. Galaxy drew a 0.7 U.S. rating and 1.1 million viewers on ESPN November 22, up 17% and 26%, respectively, from a 0.6 and 907,000 for Columbus Crew/New York Red Bulls on ABC last year.
During the decade, the highest rating for the MLS Cup was a 1.0 for the 2001 game between the Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes.
To put the numbers in perspective, the MLS Cup outdrew every single game of the 2009 WNBA Playoffs, and also topped every stage of the 2009 Tour de France. Additionally, the MLS Cup outdrew all but three IRL races on ABC and Versus during the ’09 season.