Seattle Kraken to wear Muckleshoot Indian Tribe jersey patch

Feb 22, 2023, 6:30 PM
muckleshoot tribe...
The Seattle Kraken is partnering with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe by wearing the tribe’s logo on their jerseys as a patch for the 2023-2024 season. (Photo courtesy of the Seattle Kraken press team)
(Photo courtesy of the Seattle Kraken press team)

The Seattle Kraken is partnering with the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe by wearing the tribe’s logo on their jerseys as a patch for the 2023-2024 season, the team announced in a press release Wednesday.

This will make the Kraken the first team among the four major American male sports leagues — NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL — to hallmark a Native American tribe as a jersey patch.

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“This joyful day brings with it a sense of hope, that our young people will see themselves represented by the team in the heart of Seattle and around the country with our Tribe’s logo on the front of every Kraken jersey,” said Muckleshoot Tribal Chairman Jaison Elkins in a press release.

The relationship between the NHL franchise and the Muckleshoot Tribe goes back to October 2019, when leaders of the tribal council gathered at the site of the soon-to-be Climate Pledge Arena to bless the ground. The arena lies on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish people, according to the Seattle Kraken.

“It goes all the way back to that listening session and arena blessing back in 2019,” said Donny Stevenson, vice chairman of Muckleshoot Indian Tribe in a prepared statement. “That laid the groundwork for the Kraken being involved in a way that, frankly, wasn’t a requirement [of the separate casino sponsorship agreement]. That’s how you build a relationship organically to arrive at the cool, really kind of crazy day we are celebrating Wednesday. You don’t run into that very often, where goals, priorities and values of organizations align so closely.”

Brand sponsorship deals through jersey patches have become increasingly common in professional sports. In 2020, the MLB added the Nike “swoosh” logo to all 30 MLB uniforms, with the sponsorship valuing at more than $1 billion over the 10-year deal between MLB, Nike, and retailer Fanatics. Each team gained an approximate $3 million annually in revenue stream.

But the Kraken’s partnership with the Muckleshoot Tribe goes deeper. It stretches beyond the jersey patch, as both parties agreed to construct a sports court on the Muckleshoot Reservation, invest in more Indigenous art at Climate Pledge Arena, and create more hockey programs for Indigenous youth in the area.

The NHL began allowing sponsorships in 2020 by selling advertising space on NHL team player helmets — a move that reportedly brought in $100 million in revenue for NHL franchises.

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Beginning this season, the NHL allowed teams to sell advertising patches on player jerseys.

The Kraken (32-19-6) are currently fifth in the western conference and on track to make their first postseason appearance in franchise history.

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Seattle Kraken to wear Muckleshoot Indian Tribe jersey patch