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Seattle Sounders success linked with the Seahawks? How an MLS team fills NFL stadium – Video

Oct 16, 2013, 12:32 PM EDT

We all know how awesome the soccer experience in Seattle has become in the last few years, but just how far can it go?

In this exclusive look at how Major League Soccer franchise the Seattle Sounders is run behind the scenes, Jeffrey Hayzlett takes the C-Suite cameras around CenturyLink Field and the Sounders organization to investigate just how close the soccer team works with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.

Turns out the two are inextricably linked.

From looking at how huge MLS crowds filling an NFL stadium, to the meshing of MLS and NFL franchises at boardroom level, this is a fantastic peek at one of MLS’ biggest success stories on and off the field.

You can watch the full episode via Bloomberg right here. And above is a small taster.


  1. Julian Bravo - Oct 16, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    I actually grew up in Denver but I’ve been a Sounders fan since their inception into MLS. They’re right when they say that giving the fans a voice is a key. The Rapids ownership in Denver is a nightmare and they do a terrific job of alienating the fan base. They’ve banned some of the most dedicated a loyal fans for supporting their team so passionately. There were games this year where they didn’t even reach 10k attendance in a stadium that can hold over 20k. They also built the stadium in the middle of nowhere.

    The thing about Seattle though is that there’s a clear hierarchy. Almost every Sounders fan loves the Seahawks and Mariners but not every Seahawks and Mariners fan loves the Sounders. It it growing but I think the American perception of soccer is still a little behind. I’m a Sounders fan first and then the Hawks and Mariners but there have been times where I was at Safeco and the Mariners fans couldn’t care less about the Sounders. Also not noted was the void left behind from the Supersonics and lack of NHL team that makes the Sounders a third team in a city where the Mariners are horrible and the Seahawks have been up and down.

    The Dempsey signing was smart business. Dempsey hasn’t been great for our team but during some of the away games I’ve gone to, I’ve seen new faces. There’s the America term “jumping the bandwagon” or “glory hunters” that come with it but it still helps the growth of the biggest team in the League. They’re new fans but I wouldn’t be too surprised if 20 years from now you couldn’t get a ticket in one of the supporters sections.

    • joshuajnoble - Oct 17, 2013 at 1:30 AM

      I think the Sonics leaving was a bigger deal than many people outside of Seattle recognize. Having lived here on and off a few times over the past 20 years, the Sonics really felt like the team of the city itself rather than the state or region. Losing that left a lot of local pride on the table for someone to grab. It also doesn’t hurt that Seattle and its supporters groups do a very good job of marketing to new arrivals to this not famously welcoming city, of which there are many.

      > I wouldn’t be too surprised if 20 years from now you couldn’t get a ticket in one of the supporters sections.

      There are already teams for which the supporters section waitlist approaches 5000 and the season ticket waitlist pushes 9K. Well, team anyways 😉

  2. buckyball77 - Oct 16, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Having a shared business organization is certainly a way to leverage the Seahawk organizational expertise to the Sounders benefit, but I don’t think that it’s at all the key to the Sounders marketing success.

    In fact, most NFL organizations, having a demand greater than supply, tend to view the fanbase as customers who consume tickets and products, not in some way as part of the team. The MLS teams with brightest futures are the ones who collaborate with the fanbase for a shared success. The most dismal failures are where owners want to keep the fans quiet and at arm’s length.

    • chadmoon1 - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      You said it brother. See FC Dallas for an example of the latter.

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