SBD/April 30, 2014/Franchises

Sounders' Switch To Independent Business Operations On Cusp Of Completion

CenturyLink Field will still host the Sounders despite the Seahawks split
The Sounders' business operations are set to "become independent from the Seahawks, a transition that ends a long partnership and will be complete by week’s end," according to Joshua Mayers of the SEATTLE TIMES. Still, the venture "is very much a work in progress, and these next few days are centered on the basics, like making sure email accounts are functioning." Sounders Minority Owner & GM Adrian Hanauer said next week is "when we’ll really start to work on the substantive parts of the transition: thinking about our brand again, thinking about opportunities to increase revenue, thinking about the cost side of our business, basically doing a once-over on it" Mayers notes the move "isn’t expected to affect the Sounders’ future at CenturyLink Field or the fan experience." Outgoing Sounders and current Seahawks President Peter McLoughlin now "will focus solely on his duties with the Seahawks, and Hanauer noted the Sounders haven’t even discussed whether the position will be filled, either through internal promotion or external hire." The Sounders and Seahawks "are still expected to maintain some level of cooperation, perhaps in use of an indoor turf field" at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/30). Meanwhile, Hanauer said of whether the Sounders' success with the Seahawks had anything to do with MLS expanding to Atlanta with Falcons Owner Arthur Blank, "I would venture to guess yes. I know that we’ve had a lot of contact with the people in Atlanta. They are smart people, so they saw what we had done with the partnership with the Seahawks, and I’m sure that influenced them. ... Blank mentioned the Seahawks-Sounders relationship in his remarks. So, yeah, that’s a positive, and they’re off to a great start with season-ticket deposits" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 4/29).
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