Little brother apparently is ready to break away from big brother.
The Sounders and Seahawks announced, simultaneously and surprisingly, Thursday that the Sounders’ business operations will become independent beginning April 30. The teams have shared business operations since the Sounders were admitted to Major League Soccer in 2007.
“This is a sensible decision for our franchise,” said Sounders majority owner Joe Roth in a statement released by the team. Our vision is to grow our business to unprecedented levels both domestically and abroad. This will allow us to achieve that goal. We want to thank Paul Allen and the Seahawks, who have been vital to our early success.”
Allen, the sole owner of the Seahawks, is a 25 percent owner of the Sounders. His equity share came from the donations of the Seahawks operations staff as well as a use of the stadium rent free.
The Sounders began play in2009 and have led MLS in average attendance each season. The franchise has 34,500 full season equivalent season-ticket memberships. At the end of the 2013 season, Seattle ranked 22nd in the world in attendance average.
“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 their business operations and full-time business staff to the Pioneer Square neighborhood in downtown Seattle. The team’s operations and practice facilities will remain at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
“This move further demonstrates our commitment to our passionate fan base and our staff,” said Sounders owner and GM 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.”