Seattle: Regional Team?

Discussion in 'Seattle Sounders FC' started by sounderfan, Nov 23, 2004.

  1. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    The supporters of the USL-1 Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps have tossed around this question before:

    If SEATTLE were to get a MLS team, would it become a "Regionally" supported club like the Seattle Mariners (Baseball) and Seattle Seahawks (Football) are? Would they draw fans from Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska like the M's and Hawks do? (On an MLS scale, of course).

    The consensus among SUPPORTERS is that they would rather see Alex Ferguson run naked across the pitch than support a rival town's new club.

    Realistically, though...

    "Regionally" speaking Seattle MLS makes the most sense since fans of sport are already flocking to Seattle to see the other "regional clubs." Timbers and Whitecaps diehards may boycott, but that's a mere drop in the soccer-fan bucket compared to the families and middle-of-the-road types who like soccer and would drive a few times a year to Qwest Field to catch MLS action.

    Would a "Regional Team" develop if Portland or Vancouver were to get the ONLY MLS team in this region? Not likely, though I would think Portland would have a better shot at it than Vancouver because of the border crossing delays.

    If MLS grants only one club to this area (or should I say if only one moneybags ownership group can be found) then it is in the best interest of MLS for that team to be located centrally, in Seattle.

    [​IMG]

    Sports Illustrated Report: State by State...

    Mariners and Seahawks: Alaska's Favorite Teams:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/features/si50/states/alaska/

    Mariners and Seahawks: Tops in Oregon:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/features/si50/states/oregon/

    Mariners and Seahawks: Leading Idaho:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/features/si50/states/idaho/

    Mariners: Making waves in Montana:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/features/si50/states/idaho/

    Washington: Mariner Country USA:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/features/si50/states/washington/
     
  2. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SEA/attend.shtml
    A full 65% of Seattle Mariners fans come from OUTSIDE the city of Seattle, including a remarkable 15% from OUT OF STATE (Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, British Columbia, Canada).

    The Seattle (NFL) Seahawks are not as popular regionally as they once were, nor in the city either:
    http://seahawks.scout.com/2/257084.html

    To a degree the Vancouver Canucks are a "regional" NHL hockey team. Fans from this region trickle across the border occasionally to see NHL action.

    Seattle and Portland have their own basketball teams:
    Sonics and Blazers.

    Vancouver lost its NBA franchise (Grizzlies) to Memphis a few years back.
     
  3. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
  4. Bonji

    Bonji Moderator

    Feb 4, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You're working under the assumption that MLS is a regional draw. I'm not sure either way but I think it will be awhile before soccer fans are driving hours to watch MLS on a regular basis. That being said, I'm sure some people will do it. I've heard of Rapids fans coming from Kansas & Nebraska for a game or two. However, the small numbers will fail to make a large mark on attendance.
     
  5. Allison A

    Allison A New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Portland, OR
    It could also be argued that since Vancouver has the only NHL team in the region, and Seattle already has the only NFL and MLB teams, Portland would be a natural place to put the only MLS team, and Portland's reputation for it's soccer support is pretty well known. Seattle's market is pretty well saturated already.

    If you think Seattle and other Washington state fans would flock to Portland to see the regions only MLS team, then you get a pretty good idea how many Portland and other Oregon fans would flock to Seattle to see an MLS team.

    Not many, except to root for the other team perhaps.

    In either case, a soccer-specific stadium is pretty necessary. Otherwise, there is not even a chance of a "regional interest".
     
  6. Delta Blues

    Delta Blues New Member

    Jun 25, 1999
    King Willieville
    Apples & Oranges. Two of the easiest drives between any metro markets are between Portland and Seattle, and Vancouver and Seattle. Maybe some stubborn jackasses in Vancouver and Portlands supporters clubs would consider Seattle an enemy, but having the only MLS team around would certainly draw from Portland and Vancouver, as well as Spokane, Yakima, Tri-Cities etc. I think Seattle would be the ONLY regional draw in MLS. Soccer fans outside of the myopic Timber and Whitecap supporters groups will certainly support MLS in Seattle.
     
  7. Delta Blues

    Delta Blues New Member

    Jun 25, 1999
    King Willieville
    I think you're so wrong you're into the negative numbers scale.
     
  8. Allison A

    Allison A New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Portland, OR
    You really think fans would flock to Seattle to see MLS in greater numbers than to Vancouver and Portland, just based on regional geography? Are there that many people willing to make 3 hour+ trips for MLS on any regular basis, especially if there are still A-League teams in the other two cities?

    And the big question is, how many people would show up once the novelty wore off?

    I just don't see regional support for an MLS team in the Northwest, no matter whether here, or Seattle, or Vancouver. If any of those cities could build good local support (especially with a SSS, which none of the three have on the table) then they'd do well, but I don't see the regional appeal. There's just too much history of rivalry in the region for fans to unite under one flag, and too much distance between the major cities.

    Just my opinion, but I'm entitled to it. And I guess today I'm one of the jackassess.. yesterday I was a Nazi. I wish you all would make up your mind..
     
  9. Delta Blues

    Delta Blues New Member

    Jun 25, 1999
    King Willieville
    I don't think you're a jackass or nazi, just wrong! ;)
     
  10. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    People from Vancouver may "flock" to Seattle to watch MLB and NFL because that a big deal to them. Big crowds, big stadiums, big leagues. Nobody in Vancouver consider MLS to be anywhere near that level, if Seattle got a team you would get one or two making a trip, but nobody in Vancovuer would adopt a Seattle MLS team as there own.

    Besides, we have way more fun in Vancouver at a Whitecaps game than we would in Seattle at an MLS game.
     
  11. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    These same type of statements were made before the Mariners and Seahawks came to Seattle.

    The Seahawks, because of the power and popularity of the NFL, became "regional" almost immediately. The NFL policy of regional TV also helped the Seattle team immensely.

    The Mariners struggled both in Seattle and around the PNW for many years. Fans in Portland said "Why go watch losers in the Kingdome when we have outdoor baseball with the Beavers." So big crowds only happened when the Yankees were in town, or when the Canadians invaded from BC to cheer for the Blue Jays.

    Through smart advertising, regional radio and TV contracts, and the news media getting on board because of the winning seasons, the Mariners have now become the biggest, most-popular sports franchise in this part of North America. Safeco Field was indeed the clincher.

    Ask any Oregon sports fan which team gets the top sports coverage in Portland during the summer...its the Mariners on top, easily. Then next perhaps the Beavers, and hopefully somewhere too, the Timbers.

    While MLS in Seattle has NO GUARANTEES (after all, MLS is nowhere near as popular or powerful as the NFL or MLB) a team here at least has the OPPORTUNITY to draw from a big, populous area and huge TV market.

    Whether than can be realized is likely a matter of money, time, winning, marketing and smart leadership.

    Nothing is assured, but perhaps the eventual "payoff" for MLS is highest in Seattle, a city that has already shown it can draw beyond borders and rivalries in other pro sports.
     
  12. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest


    You are forgetting one simple thing in the matter. Live coverage of the NFL and MLB saturates the Canadian airwaves, therefore creating interest in those leagues in Canada. So people in Vancouver catch the hype and travel to Seattle to watch the Mariners and Seahawks play. Aside from the 2 or 3 games ABC airs a year and the games FSW carries (which many people here don't get) there is no coverage of MLS in Vancouver. There's no mention in Vancouver papers about the league and I've never heard them mention MLS on the sports news coverage on TV. That is a huge difference from MLB and NFL which get covered more than our local sports teams (aside from hockey). It's easy to buy into the hype of MLB and NFL as we are inundated with it. To think that people from Vancouver will travel to Seattle to watch Seattle MLS as they do for the Seahawks and Mariners is a huge stretch.
     
  13. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Canada
    Jan 11, 2002
    Victoria, BC
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    Be careful in saying that.

    Toronto is banking on people traveling to their city to watch MLS.:D
     
  14. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    That WOULD be a huge stretch. But it is not what I'm saying. My last post clearly states this. MLS will only 'have a chance' to eventually make a dent in these places if a team came to Seattle.

    Sports fans in this region have already demonstrated a willingness to come to Seattle for sporting events (even Champions World Soccer). It would be up to MLS marketing and overall league growth, as well as the future Seattle club to maximize their huge "potential."

    At least sports fans in BC, Idaho, Alaska and Oregon already know where/what "Qwest Field" is. That's a nice start.
     
  15. Kerri Miller

    Kerri Miller New Member

    Nov 24, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Oh, I think you'd be surprised. I know that I would travel nearly weekly to Vancouver or Portland to support a regional team, but coming from the NorthEast originally, I don't have this nutty regional city rivallry bred into me :)

    On the flip side, I bet you'd never understand why I hate New Hampshire so much! ^_^
     
  16. Kerri Miller

    Kerri Miller New Member

    Nov 24, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    What if they opened up the north stands to the supporters section, and we called ourselves the North Siders?
     
  17. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    Ah, but MLS is not Champions World Soccer. Vancouver already has the Whitecaps and the level of play is not that far less than MLS, and the Whitecaps certainly get a lot more press here than does MLS. Vancouver soccer fans would still prefer the Whitecaps. Compare that to the level of play and the press that the single A baseball Vancouver Canadians get here to the level of play and the press that the Seattle Mariners get here. Mariners press in the local media blows away the Canadians coverage. Hell all Mariners games get covered on local radio here, I don't think the Canadians games do. That will not happen with MLS. No local radio or TV station is going to start covering Seattle MLS games. There's no money in it. I said it before, no local coverage equals no local interest in MLS.
     
  18. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    Vancouver and Portland will be "markets of interest" for a possible Seattle MLS franchise. How quickly anything develops there, if at all, will in part be determined by the things I mentioned earlier. Certainly a Seattle club would look first to Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, etc. for its "base."

    Do I see fans in Portland and Vancouver choosing to go to Seattle for MLS over their local USL-1 club? Let's ask the local baseball teams in Portland and Vancouver if fans bypass them to see the Mariners. Of course they do.
    So, a few would likely do the same in soccer. How many? Who knows? 5? 20? 200? 1,000 per year? More?

    If the league distinguishes itself further from lower leagues, then interest in regional areas will grow.
     
  19. Allison A

    Allison A New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Portland, OR
    I would strongly disagree that Seattle "deserves" an MLS team just because it happens to be three hours drive from two cities that have traditionally supported soccer pretty well.

    The first city in the region to get an MLS franchise will be the one that puts the $$$$ on the table, along with a soccer-specific stadium. Whether that city will succeed in MLS has nothing to do with "regional draw", which will be a novelty at first, and will quickly dissipate to a few hundred per game at best who make the trek from any distance.

    For whatever city that gets the team to succeed depends on the facility they play in, the quality of the team they put on the field, marketing, and support they get from the local media. Regional geography will have nothing to do with whether an MLS team in this region succeeds or not.

    As we know from MLS history, "deserving" a team for whatever reason (history, fans, geography) means nothing to MLS. It's all to do with $$$$ and soccer-specific stadiums, nothing else matters, as far as getting the franchise is concerned.
     
  20. Krammerhead

    Krammerhead Guest

    Once again (broken tape recorder on) and speaking strictly about Vancouver there is a huge difference between the single A short season Vancouver Canadians baseball club and the league they play in and the MLB Seattle Mariners. Of course baseball fans wanting the major league experience will bypass the Vancouver team and their crumbling little stadium to go to a major league stadium in Seattle to watch the majors play. Theres a huge difference in quality of play between those leagues and a huge difference in fan perception of what the two leagues represent. There is no huge difference between MLS and USL Division 1. The Vancouver soccer snobs that presently avoid the Whitecaps games because of the quality of the league will still turn up their nose at MLS.
     
  21. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    See another thread about whether a SSS should be considered a "deal-breaker."

    In recent talks with MLS Adrian Hanauer indicated that the league was fine with Qwest Field.

    However, SLC won the 2004 race for expansion, and their bid did have an SSS plan.

    The recent 25-million dollar naming rights to "Qwest Field" by Qwest Phone Co., owned by Anschutz of MLS fame, was seen by some as a consession to Paul Allen to allow MLS a "free ride" in the new stadium for the foreseeable future.

    The Seattle Sounders currently play at Qwest "rent free," paying only staff and game-day expenses. Since it is believed that First and Goal (Paul Allen) are in the process of agreeing to profit-sharing of parking and concessions with Seattle MLS investors, it is quite likely the "SSS" scenario is meaningless as far as Seattle's chances.

    If Qwest hosts Gold Cup USA matches this summer its reputation as a soccer venue will futher increase.

    Of course it does hold 67,000 fans, way too many seats for MLS. But it does have completely separate NFL and soccer locker rooms, and a great downtown location to balance out the negative aspects.

    Allison is familiar with Qwest Field as a venue. After all, she has been one of those "regional" fans of the NFL Seahawks. Right, Allison? Did you get Seattle Seahawks season Tix again this year?

    Qwest is not 'ideal' for MLS, but it is the best "big" soccer venue I've ever been to in the States.
     
  22. Delta Blues

    Delta Blues New Member

    Jun 25, 1999
    King Willieville
    Actually in this case it will be the one with the $$$ and a suitable stadium. Namely Seattle and Qwest Field. There will be no SSS requirement. BTW, according to Adrian Hanauer the $$$ is ready. So, despite your seeming venom towards the development, Seattle will likely be the NW's first MLS franchise.
     
  23. Allison A

    Allison A New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Portland, OR
    It may not be a deal-breaker, but it will put you behind any other cities that put in a bid with a SSS, I bet. 50,000+ empty seats is not what MLS wants.

    I have been a Seahawks fan since 1976 when I picked another team to anger my mother, who is a die-hard Redskins fan. Moving to Portland just gave me the opportunity to support them, it has nothing to do with "regional interest"

    And this is likely my last year for Seahawks Season tickets. I have not attended a game this year so my tickets have gone unused, and probably will to the end of the season.

    Hey, if they can pull it off and get five figure averages after the novelty has worn off, more power to them. I certainly won't lose any sleep over it.
     
  24. sounderfan

    sounderfan New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    :(

    Hey! I only live an hour and a half away from Qwest Field. I wouldn't be against helping you "use" a couple of those tickets!
     
  25. dmain

    dmain Member

    Mar 4, 2003
    Gig Harbor, WA
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    While certainly not the same as "A" ball and MLB there is a big difference IMHO between MLS and USL div 1. NO slam on the caps-I'm a sounders fan. Having said that I don't think the hardcore fans of either city will flock to Seattle to watch MLS regularly but the odd game here or there? sure. I agree with Krammerhead Vancouver fans will be more likely to stay away as the MLS right now only has US teams.

    Unfortunately I think the same thing will happen in seattle to a degree :(
     

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