A “less is more” packaging strategy is paying off for FC Dallas.

Looking to maximize value, the Major League Soccer team has reduced its sponsor roster by half over the last three years, moving from more than 100 sponsors in 2011 to roughly 50 partners today.

FC Dallas has tripled sponsorship revenue since launching the initiative, pushing the team into the top one-third of all MLS teams in terms of total sponsorship revenue.

That revenue is driven in part by two significant deals over the past two years. FC Dallas in 2012 secured AdvoCare International as its first-ever jersey sponsor, while the team last year brought on Toyota as its first naming rights partner. The deal was spearheaded by Gulf States Toyota Distributors.

FC Dallas launched the packaging strategy with one primary objective: drive sponsor value. With fewer partners to work with, the team can work more closely with each partner on activation platforms that maximize the chances of success and lead to long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships.

“The strategy allows us to spend more quality time to plan ahead, achieve positive results and ultimately grow their business,” said Matt McInnis, FC Dallas’ vice president of business development and partnership marketing.

In a testament to his success, Major League Soccer earlier this month crowned McInnis MLS corporate partnerships executive of the year at the sanctioning body’s Club Executives Award Ceremony at the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia. 

In contrast to the team’s prior sales strategy, McInnis has set a minimum $25,000 rights fee for each sponsorship package. Companies with smaller budgets are now directed to ticket or hospitality packages, he said.

McInnis launched the strategy after serving as senior manager of corporate partnerships with the NFL Dallas Cowboys, a team that also employs a less is more packaging strategy.

In addition to the new packaging strategy, McInnis attributes the team’s success to the following three practices:  

Mutually defined objectives and measurement metrics
“The first thing we ask our partners in planning meetings is how they will track and measure success. It’s our job to ensure they achieve their goals and objectives and makes the renewal process easier for both parties.”

Consistent communication
“We meet on a regular basis internally and with our partners to make sure we are on-track with the relationship. That includes providing recap reports of specific events and initiatives they can use internally to showcase the partnership and keep top level executives up to speed so that we are consistently top of mind.”

Dedicated staff
“Success breeds success and having a qualified and consistent staff of nine has helped with our success. We have five individuals that focus 100 percent of their time and energy supporting our partner initiatives on a daily basis.”