Friday, September 28, 2007

Billionaire new co-owner of Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Sounders have some big pockets in their new ownership group, as Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen is indeed part of it, however Q is the senior partner. I'm guessing the $18 billion bank account was one of the big reasons MLS officials went with this group over that of Atletico Seattle Management.

With Allen in the picture, it is pretty clear that the team will continue to play their matches at Qwest Field. However, with the league pushing to move all clubs to soccer specific stadiums, it will be interesting to see how long this lasts (side bet on which team gets a sss first, Seattle or New England).

Current owner Adrian Hanauer will stay involved with the club, and that is a very good thing.

So there are most of the big pieces of the story, but still I wonder, what does it mean for MLS in the Northwest over all?

First off, the idea that people from Portland or Vancouver might become Sounders fans just because they are a MLS club seems a little off to me. I could see those folks showing up for some of the bigger games but my guess is it would be to cheer on the opposition.

Then there is the figure of Allen. It is great that he has a lot of money and is already involved in the Northwest sports scene, however I wonder if, much like the Kraft family and the Revolution, the soccer team will always be a secondary to their NFL team? The one element that seems to point away from that is Roth being the main investor, but still, it is a concern.

Finally, now that the Seattle option has been awarded, what would stop the two (or was it three) other groups that wanted the team to look down south a little bit at Portland? Just a few months ago it appeared the Northwest franchise would go to the Keston family who were interested in either Seattle or Portland, but obviously they lost out for whatever reason. With Portland having a great fan base and a stadium that, with some upgrades, could be MLS ready within a year, it would seem like a smart bet. Are there any billionaires in Oregon that are interested?

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2 Comments:

Blogger Fred said...

On one hand, you wonder if this might just "entice" the current Portland ownership group to work towards the same "promotion path" that Seattle is (theoretically) taking here...

However, the only local "really big pockets" guy already owns the Oregon Ducks--maybe we could get 6000 of the Timbers' biggest fans to pony up $5k a piece...

1:28 PM  
Blogger ERic said...

Allison (Portland fan) said on BigSoccer that there are a couple groups looking at MLS Portland. One is the current Timbers owner. The other is an.. Adidas person? I think. But it was definitely NOT a Nike person.

2:59 PM  

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