If you live near Seattle...

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by sounderfan, Sep 16, 2003.

  1. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
  2. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
  3. HalaMadrid

    HalaMadrid Member

    Apr 9, 1999

    Is Seatlle going to play here?

    Looks good to me.
  4. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
  5. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    A quaint, cozy suburban stadium. Seats about 6,000 or so. Grass pitch. No other major tennant. Near major transportation lines.


    Pretty much describes the Whitecaps Swangard Stadium. (Or, close).

    It also describes what could become of the Fort Dent Soccer complex in Tukwila, WA. The Sounders must look themselves in the mirror and decide what and where their future will be.

    Are they the precursor of a Seattle MLS team, and thus should stay centralized in a large professional stadium?

    Or, are they really more entrenched in the A-league, and thus perhaps needing to emulate their successful neighbors to the north by getting out of town a bit and claiming their own "Fort?"

    The Whitecaps, former NASL namesakes with the Sounders, seem to have already figured out years ago that "out of town" doesn't automatically mean "out of sight."

    Anyone who has read anything by me knows where I stand: The Sounders need their own home, however small at first, in order to grow into who they are.

    Having seen the decline of the NASL and the steady non-growth of MLS, I am not convinced at all that this region would be enhanced by having the Sounders quit and an MLS team pop up. I say forget about it. It should be about making the A-League Sounders as viable as they can be. In 67,000 seat Seahawks Stadium the "room to grow" is enormous. Too enormous. And "ticket availability" is everything in Seattle. Just ask the Mariners, who sell over a million tickets in advance before the season even starts. Why? Tickets are hard to come by later.
    The Sounders need to create that sort of pre-sale demand by limiting the number of seats they have to sell.

    Of course the big reason to find a smaller home is so the club can get the $$$ from concessions, parking, etc. This is where Rochester could be used as a fine example.

    Or, perhaps Charleston, with their soccer-specific dreamboat of a stadium.

    The Sounders ownership is at a crossroads.
    I hope they decide that the A-League is THEIR league, and that the Sounders deserve to land, plant and grow in a place of their own.

    This will take the team looking at themselves in a critical light: they are NOT one of the big sports powers in Seattle, nor will they ever be. But, that really shouldn't be the goal. A reasonable goal would be to grade themselves against other A-League organizations and eventually to come up even. If they do, they will see the great choices Rochester, Charleston, and even Vancouver are making...choices by teams who may have bigger dreams down the line, but are acting on today's A-League realities.
  6. denver_mugwamp

    denver_mugwamp New Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    Hmmm, looks interesting...

    Can the Fort Dent site be upgraded? Is there room for a 20,000 seater?
  7. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    Re: Hmmm, looks interesting...

    Why would they need a stadium that size? If it's MLS you are thinking about they'd never play at Fort Dent.
  8. pc4th

    pc4th New Member

    Jun 14, 2003
    North Poll
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Since there is no potential MLS investor looming around the corner to promote the Sounders from A-league to MLS, I believe it is best to move the Sounders to Fort Dent (as I suggested in the soundercentral board). Staying at Seahawk stadium would only cost the Sounders more rent money. And a 3-4 k average attendance do not look good in a 67 k stadium because the atmosphere.


    Home field undecided

    Hanauer said the Sounders are deciding whether to return to Seahawks Stadium for home games in 2004, but are considering returning to Memorial Stadium or moving to a renovated Fort Dent Park soccer-only stadium in Tukwila.

    "The front-runner right now is Seahawks Stadium," Hanauer said. "We are going to try to make a decision in the next month. We want to have looked everywhere before we make a decision."

    Hanauer admits 67,000-seat Seahawks Stadium is a great place to play but that it has a less-intimate setting and high rent.

    "It's too expensive for us," Hanauer said. "We're paying for much more stadium than we need. We believe if we did a deal with someone else that it would slash 80 percent off our rent cost."

    The sticking point at Fort Dent is seating. The renovation calls for 2,500 seats, but the Sounders need closer to 5,000 or 6,000 to justify the move.

    "It would have to be expanded and we're seeing if that's possible," Hanauer said.

    He expects this year's losses to be in the neighborhood of $400,000, as opposed to $600,000 in 2002.
    Increased ticket sales and youth-camp revenues were the primary reasons for losing less money in 2003, Hanauer said. "The goal is to drop that to the $200,000 range in 2004," he said. "We are trying to get our expenses under control."

    if they move out of Seahawk stadium, the rent will be cut by 80%. Maybe that is one extra reason to move out of there.
  9. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    So why is the frontrunner at the moment still Seahawks stadium? Seems like a pretty simple decision to me.
  10. cjschlos

    cjschlos Member

    Jan 21, 1999
    New York
    Well my two cents would be to see if we can upgrade memorial at all to make it a better facility. Seahawks is way too big for the sounders but staying in town certainly has its appeal. Memorial is in an amazing location the stadium simply sucks.
  11. bright

    bright Member

    Dec 28, 2000
    Central District
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A soccer-specific renovated Memorial would rock. But the school district isn't going to sell. Plus, there are political implications with a sports team buying a very historical stadium from the public entity like the school district.

    Maybe if there was a very rich sugar daddy, it could be pulled off. But this isn't the case. Also, on another political note, I doubt Paul Allen would let anyone buy Memorial and set up shop right next to his EMP. On top of that, I doubt Seattle Center would like having a potential concert venue competitor right next to its own Key Arena.

    It would be nice, but it isn't just a matter of "show me the money".

    Oh, one other thing: the Mercer Mess. Eek! I wonder how many people don't go to Sonics games because of traffic.

    - Paul
  12. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    Agreed a soccer specific memorial would be good. However as it is with the football lines on the field, its not a solution.
  13. Scoey

    Scoey Member

    Oct 1, 1999
    I never really understood the move to Seahawk Stadium. It's a nice place to take in a game, but it just seems so sterile, and there is little atmosphere. The contrast between the packed house at the Open Cup game vs. San Jose, and the games at the Hawk, was startling. Even though Fort Dent is much farther from me than the Hawk, if the atmosphere were good, I'd probably go to more games, despite the distance.

    What's the hesitancy with moving to Fort Dent -- it's non-urban location? I'd be surprised if that made much difference in attendance -- the Sounders fan base doesn't seem to me to be predominanty Seattle based. I usually feel like one of the only urbanites at games. But what do I know. The other issue is it's capacity. They could increase prices to make up for it, but that would make marketing to kids and families tougher. It would also be pretty hard to justify pricier tickets to a less fancy venue.

    Either way, I think they need to pick a place they like, stick with it, and build the fan base. I can't imagine their nomadic nature is helping them.

    Every time I drive by Memorial I long for a soccer stadium there. The location is perfect, and the stadium itself could be wonderful with a few modifications. Se la vie...
  14. Scoey

    Scoey Member

    Oct 1, 1999
    Fixed yer post. The football lines are the least of the problems with that venue.
  15. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    Well I assumed that when someone mentioned a soccer specific pitch at a renovated memorial stadium, that since we are talking about fantasy, that would mean SOCCER SPECIFIC!!!

    ie: Soccer only (cutting down on scheduling problems) widened field (fixing the width problem) new turf of either grass or field turf (fixing the problem of the crappy turf and crowned pitch). I've seen stadiums that were crowned and had old fashioned astroturf replace the astroturf with field turf and now they are excellent fields with no crowns, for example both Molson in Montreal and Ivor Wynne in Hamilton.

    So when it awas mentioned in the two posts previous to mine that it would be great if memorial were a SOCCER SPECIFIC renovated stadium that these changes would be made as part of the renovations.

    That is why my undoctored quote read: "Agreed a SOCCER SPECIFIC memorial would be good. However AS IT IS with the football lines on the field, its not a solution.
  16. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    My more-than-two-cents on A-League.com:

    A-League: Are Sounders "Just Visiting?"
    by David Falk, Seattle Sounders Fan

    Just like the onset of rain, the falling of leaves, and other rituals of autumn in the Northwest, Seattle Sounders fans are getting used to the seemingly annual fall tradition of wondering where their team will call home in the coming season.

    In 1999 Seattle played in 6,000 seat Renton Stadium, about twenty slow minutes from town. In 2000-2002 it was back to 12,000 seat Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Center. In 2003 the Sounders played at 67,000 seat Seahawks Stadium near Seattle's picturesque waterfront. The stadiums couldn't be more different, and less perfect as fits for the Seattle club.

    The Sounders want to evolve into an MLS team. They really do. Trying to get there has exposed some problems that only money can solve. Problem number one: there is really no single "ideal" stadium in the Seattle area for pro soccer. Memorial Stadium, the Sounders original NASL home, and their home for most of their 10 years in the A-League, has had a terrible, narrow pitch and less-than-hospitable amenities. This summer the Seattle School District spent over a million dollars to replace the pitch at Memorial with a new "Astro-Play" surface. Reports from local soccer teams say it's a good surface to play on, and that Memorial Stadium's famous "crown" has been replaced with a nice flat field. Reports also say that the field is emblazoned with bright red, yellow and white PERMANENT gridiron lines. In a recent survey of fans on SounderCentral.com, while the choice of a future stadium was up for debate, there was near unanimous agreement that American football lines are a real distraction and drawback for fans attending games. I rode the ferry over to games this year with two new Sounders season-ticket holders who bought their seats for the first time because they knew Seahawks Stadium would NOT have gridiron lines. Well, for most of the year, it didn't. Then for important matches in the US Open Cup and A-League Western Conference Finals the Sounders and their fans were subjected to mucho lines and giant Seattle Seahawks NFL end zone logos unfortunately placed in the penalty area and around both goals.

    I think Seattle fans are willing to put up with end-of-the-season gridiron lines. Hey, don't some MLS teams have to? It's the 64,000 empty seats and 80% higher rent at Seahawks Stadium that have the Sounders looking once again at all options.

    Into the fray this year comes a third option (or is it a fourth?): Fort Dent. This beautiful 56-acre park located next to Seattle's largest shopping center, SouthCenter, has been purchased by the City of Tukwila. They in turn have hired Starfire Sports to give the park a major upgrade. Fort Dent hosts hundreds of soccer matches a year for local leagues. The complex will have six soccer fields, including a feature field with a refurbished, roofed grandstand that will seat 2,500 fans. The field is likely to be synthetic, but will feature soccer-only markings. The Sounders are looking Starfire's way, wondering if there is room to expand the stadium and make a go of it there.

    I have been to the Fort Dent site, and think it would work nicely for an A-League team. It's a great local park, with a river flowing nearby, and gobs of restaurants and pubs only minutes away. Tukwila offers access on and off I-5 and 405, two main freeways here. It is closer to Seattle than the Kent locations the Sounders have looked at, about 10 miles south of downtown. Other than seating, the Sounders have expressed several concerns about Fort Dent. Will fans follow them there? A SounderCentral survey says yes, but that they would lose a few regulars from farther north. Will fans accept a "minor-league" stadium after playing at the posh digs of an NFL team? Again, survey says, "yes," that while posh is nice, the fans only need a clean place with the basics. Can Fort Dent be expanded? It looked like there was room for this, but I am not a surveyor.

    The big question for the Sounders seems to be this: are they an "MLS prospect?" If so, then why would they move to a smaller place outside of town? Or, are they A-League for the long term? If so, then Seahawks Stadium and Memorial Stadium are not really long-term solutions.

    The Sounders recently reported in a Seattle Times article that they expect to lose about $400,000 in 2003. They lost $600,000 in 2002. So, while things are getting better, the chance to cut the huge Seahawks Stadium rent bill must be at least considered.

    After my initial giddiness at the prospect of the Sounders finding a cozy home at Fort Dent, reality is beginning to sink in. The Sounders have bigger dreams than their wallets can achieve, and fewer fans than their dreams require. Seattle seems to consider itself "just visiting" the A-League on the way to MLS. Big problem: they don't have MLS money or investors, and averaged only 3,200 fans a game in 2003, eighth in the A-League.

    Fort Dent is not only a good idea for the Sounders, it's also a way to stabilize the franchise and build for an A-League future. But, is that the kind of future this club wants?
  17. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    The Sounders will announce shortly that they will return to Seahawks Stadium in 2004. Ticket plans and discussion:


  18. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    Wishy-washy, or???
    I received a note from the Sounders politely requesting that I remove any reference about Seahawks Stadium being their choice for 2004 from Soundercentral.com.
    They say they have NOT decided yet. Funny thing is, they have called the fans...and are selling tickets for next year. They have made almost all of them "General Admission," except at midfield, but is was pretty clear that the team intends to return, based on the phone conversation I had.

    Follow the hilarity and confusion here:

  19. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    The Sounders should spend their time trying to draw more fans than wasting it policing fan sites.

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