Thursday, March 20, 2014

The People's Democratic Republic Of Seattle Sounders

 In an interesting turn of events, the Seattle Sounders organization has announced that they will be splitting their business operations from that of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. The full departure will take place on April 30th, 2014. 
“This is a sensible business decision for our franchise,” said Sounders FC Majority Owner Joe Roth. “Our vision is to grow our business to unprecedented levels both domestically and abroad. This move will position us to achieve that goal. The Seahawks have been vital to our early success and we thank Paul Allen and his organization for their support.” 
The Sounders began play in North America's top tier league in March 2009 and have led Major League Soccer in average attendance in each season of play. The Club (as of the 2014 campaign) has a whopping 34,500 full (and equivalent) season-ticket memberships. At the end of the 2013 season, Seattle ranked 22nd in the world in attendance average at 44,038 per match. This all occurring while the League average dropped slightly on the whole.

While the business side of the house has split, the two teams will continue to have a working partnership as they still co-habit CenturyLink Field.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Joe, Adrian and Drew,” said Seahawks President Peter McLoughlin. “The Sounders will continue to be part of our family as we share CenturyLink Field and will work together on mutually beneficial projects.”
The Sounders will move all of their business operations as well as their full-time business staff to Pioneer Square in downtown Seattle. The team operations & practice facilities will continue to operate out of Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
“This move further demonstrates our commitment to our passionate fan base and our staff,” said Sounders FC Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer. “We’re excited to plant our flag in Pioneer Square and continue to grow our brand under the banner of Sounders 2.0.”
A new era is dawning for the Sounders with the move. Something that only makes sense considering the growth of the team from it's initial awarding of an MLS franchise in 2007 to where we are now. Some supporters are taking this time to dream big for the Club, thinking of a future where the Sounders play in their own Soccer Specific Stadium. While this is an extremely happy thought it won't be happening any time soon. The location of "The CLink", as well as the Seattle Mariners' SafeCo Field, is simply too perfect in the heart of Downtown Seattle. With the desire to build an NBA/NHL size arena in the area, it doesn't leave much space left to construct a stadium. That being said... We can hope.

For now though, we can look ahead to a mostly independent Sounders organization. William Wallace would be proud. 

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