FRISCO, Texas – In a busy offseason of incoming and outgoing player transfers, perhaps FC Dallas’ biggest acquisition was actually off-the-field in the form of its new jersey partner, MTX Group Inc.
MTX is a Frisco-based information technology company that utilizes its Maverick Quantum (mavQ) Artificial Intelligence Platform in a number of different areas: data integration, analytics and mobile technology. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, MTX and mavQ have been used to assist with contact tracing and, most recently, organized vaccine distribution.
In addition to being FC Dallas’ jersey partner, MTX will also be featured on the kits for North Texas SC, the FCD Academy and FCD Youth. The partnership includes various community impact initiatives as well as the utilization of MTX’s mavQ platform to help FCD evaluate the talent in its youth programs to identify its next wave of Homegrown Players.
Clearly, it’s not just a traditional jersey sponsorship—and the partnership as a whole came about in untraditional circumstances. With time winding down on its previous front-of-jersey partner, FC Dallas’ business development team went in search of its next suitor.
“We essentially start in our own backyard,” explains Melissa Jannetta, FCD’s Vice President of Business Development. “Historically, most of the jersey deals have been done with companies that have a huge presence in the market where the MLS team exists. So, we cast a net within 25, 50 and 100 miles of the stadium to start looking at what companies have a presence. Well, MTX didn’t even pop up on that search because they’re a private company.”
So, how did FC Dallas and MTX foster their wide-ranging partnership?
Chip Kisabeth, FC Dallas’ Senior Director of Ticket sales, read an article about MTX’s COVID-19 contract tracing efforts in the Dallas Business Journal. After realizing the company was based in Frisco, Kisabeth reached out to its CEO, Das Nobel, with an invitation to tour Toyota Stadium. The initial idea was to sell MTX one of the stadium’s suite packages.
“It took about two months and they (the Nobels) came before the holidays in December,” Jannetta continued. “Chip introduced them to Dan (Hunt, President of FC Dallas). Das and his wife Nipa (who’s also MTX’s CMO) are big sports fans and immediately there was a connection between Dan and Das, seeing that they’re both big thinkers. So, Dan came to me about setting up a meeting to learn more about their business and how we could potentially partner.
“From there, in December, we had our first initial meeting with them and started learning more about their culture and their growth and all the work that they’re doing during the pandemic. So, with a like mind and ‘think big’ mentality, we started building a partnership that was based around front-of-jersey.”
But brokering a partnership as encompassing as FCD and MTX’s isn’t always straightforward, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
“We were meeting on weekends and all hours of the night because they have priority projects that they were working on,” Jannetta said. “We had to be really flexible. Also, traditionally there’s a kind of courting period where your meeting prospects for lunch, you’re touring their offices, and they’re coming to tour the stadium. But there was very little of that this time. We didn’t meet with them in person once during the process.”
Despite the lack of traditional business formalities, the two parties’ like-mindedness helped streamline the partnership’s creation.
“It just kind of shows the synergies between the companies and the immediate connection that we had because everything was kind of fast-forwarded in this case,” Jannetta said. “We started the process before Christmas, and we had everything wrapped up by February. They knew what they wanted and we knew what we wanted almost instantly. So, we were kind of all rowing towards that very quickly.”