How hot is the Chattanooga Football Club brand in the eyes of potential corporate sponsors these days?
Hot enough to ink a multiyear deal with The Original Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce, with that logo replacing the iconic Volkswagen emblem on the front of Chattanooga FC jerseys beginning this season.
VW had occupied that coveted spot since CFC began as an amateur club in 2009. The team took on professional status last season as part of the National Independent Soccer Association.
"They sought us out," CFC managing director Jeremy Alumbaugh said Wednesday regarding the switch to Louisiana. "It's a brand that's been known in the sporting world for a long time, though maybe not the soccer world. We were blessed to have VW as our jersey sponsor, but now it's time to move in another direction."
Much as Volkswagen has a presence with its assembly plant in Chattanooga, Summit Hill Foods also calls Chattanooga home. Before changing its brand name from Southeastern Mills in 2020, it purchased the hot sauce in 2015. The cayenne pepper-based sauce first hit the market in 1928 out of Iberia, Louisiana, and a manufacturing plant remains there.
"The Original Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce is so proud to partner with the Chattanooga Football Club," Summit Hill Foods vice president of marketing Brad Olsen said in a news release. "We love our local communities. As we approach our 100th anniversary, we look forward to a long relationship with Chattanooga FC."
Though the sauce's primary label colors are red and yellow, the hot sauce logo will remain the club's traditional two shades of blue on jerseys. CFC fans will get their first chance to see the new look in action during the club's first match of the NISA Legends Cup on Tuesday at Finley Stadium. Season ticket holders will receive a discount on home, away and goalkeeper jerseys at the team's website.
"This is the biggest deal we've ever had on the jersey sponsorship, and it's a multiyear deal," Alumbaugh said. "The best thing about this is that we have a local partner really excited about partnering with us."