SBD/March 21, 2014/Franchises

Seahawks, MLS Sounders Set To Cut Business Ties After Sharing Them Since '07

McLoughlin will give up his soccer responsibilities as part of the move
The Seahawks and MLS Sounders on Thursday jointly announced that the Sounders' business operations will become independent, effective April 30. The Sounders will move business operations and full-time business staff to the Pioneer Square neighborhood, while team operations and practice facilities will remain at Starfire Sports Complex. The teams had shared business operations since the Sounders were admitted to MLS in '07 (Seahawks). In Seattle, Joshua Mayers writes with the Seahawks' "invaluable help, the Sounders hit the ground running" as a pro franchise and "quickly grew" into one of MLS' biggest brands. Such "stability has enabled the Sounders to break free, as was the organization’s intention all along, in pursuit of even larger goals." Sounders Minority Owner Paul Allen "will continue to hold" his 25% stake in the Sounders on top of his ownership stake in the Seahawks, and fans "shouldn't expect to notice much change." Home games "still will be played at CenturyLink Field" (SEATTLE TIMES, 3/21). In Tacoma, Don Ruiz notes Sounders and Seahawks President Peter McLoughlin "will surrender his soccer responsibilities" as part of the move. There was "no announcement of who will become Sounders president." However, Sounders Minority Owner & GM Adrian Hanauer said that he "could assume that title" in addition to his GM duties. Hanauer said of the move to split up operations, "The organization is very capable of standing on its own two feet. I’ve used the phrase ‘taking the training wheels off.’ ... Our fans should not lose anything. (Sounders FC) can dream big dreams about where the brand goes from here" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 3/21).
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