Just over three months ago, we took a look at the business model for the expansion Seattle Sounders. With the season at the halfway mark, we thought we would take another look at soccer in the Emerald City. In an indication that demand remains strong for tickets, the Sounders recently announced that they are making more seats available, making it almost certain that the team will set an MLS attendance record. Fans continue to flock to Qwest for arguably the best stadium experience in MLS, and perhaps most importantly, the Sounders continue to perform on the field.
The Sounders also continue to do the little things right; the Sounders’ web page is second to none in the League. While other teams have deviated from the MLS web template, the Sounders have done an outstanding job of creating an interactive destination for their fans. Live chats with the Team are offered, links to multiple blogs, an oustanding ticket engine, promotion information and more. In addition, the presence of the Sounders’ band offers a unique element in MLS.
Media coverage continues to be outstanding, with multiple print outlets covering the Sounders from every angle. The Seattle sports radio station features the Sounders prominently. The same goes for local televsion stations (and TV ratings are reported as quite strong). While this level of coverage is not unprecedented, it is far more than many MLS teams. MLS fans struggle to find coverage of their teams in many markets, and the opportunity to seek information from multiple sources is simply another avenue for fans to connect to and support their team.
Will the success continue? The same factors discussed in our original piece probably still apply. The team needs to do well, the experience has to continue to provide fans with something unique and the Sounders have to continue to do well in their fan outreach. However, 1/2 of the way into their first season, the Sounders continue to do well in all aspects. With new teams coming in Philly, Vancouver and Portland, Seattle will continue to be a model franchise for expansion. The success in Seattle looks like it is here to stay.