Columbus Crew SC’s kits will look a little different when the Black & Gold take the field for the start of the MLS is Back Tournament on Saturday night. The team will have new sponsorship patches on both their sleeve and the back of their shorts.
The Crew announced on Friday that the team will have a Scotts Miracle-Gro patch on the jersey’s sleeves and an OhioHealth patch on the back of their shorts. These two sponsors will join Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which was announced as the club’s primary jersey sponsor prior to the season.
This decision by the Crew to add two new kit sponsors takes advantage of a Major League Soccer rule that allows teams to have one sleeve patch. MLS altered the rule after the coronavirus pandemic halted play, allowing teams to have more sponsors in an attempt to make up lost revenue due to missing four months of games.
“We wanted to provide premium opportunities for partners to connect with the Black & Gold during the MLS is Back Tournament,” Crew executive vice president and chief business officer Steve Lyons said in the announcement. ”Our partners Scotts Miracle-Gro will be featured on our jersey sleeve and OhioHealth on our club shorts during the MLS is Back Tournament. With all of our tournament games on national networks, and with MLS becoming one of the first leagues in major team sports to return to play, these opportunities are especially powerful assets for our local partners.”
Ohio-based company Scotts Miracle-Gro has been a sponsor of the team since 2012. Their sponsorship includes naming rights to the Scotts Field Seats at MAPFRE Stadium as well as the Post-Match Penalty Kick Contest. OhioHealth’s sponsorship with the Black & Gold dates back to the team’s second season in 1997. OhioHealth has been the longtime healthcare provider for the club and it was announced in the preseason that the company will be the official naming rights sponsor for the team’s new performance center that is set to open next season.
In addition to the sleeve and short sponsors, MLS is allowing players to create custom messages on the back of their jerseys. So far in the MLS is Back Tournament, players have thanked healthcare workers for what they’ve done during the pandemic or showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. These messages are placed just below the player’s number on the back of his jerseys. The Philadelphia Union players replaced their names on the back of their jerseys with Black victims of police brutality.
According to the announcement, the Scotts Miracle-Gro and OhioHealth patches will only be on the Crew’s kits for the MLS is Back Tournament, while Nationwide Children’s Hospital will remain the jersey sponsor throughout the 2020 season.
The Black & Gold take on FC Cincinnati on Saturday night with the game scheduled to kick off shortly after 10:30 p.m. ET.