When the Seattle Sounders announced the separation of their business operations with that of the Seattle Seahawks in March, many looked at it as something of a divorce. However, the separation is an indication the Seattle Sounders are ready to spread their wings and bask in the warmth of cold hard cash. Whoever said winning doesn’t get you what you want, has obviously never owned a professional franchise.
The Sounders are leaving the friendly confines of the Virginia Mason Athletic Center , with its roomy 48,000 square feet of administration space for a still undisclosed location in the Pioneer Square area of downtown Seattle. Although the team will likely not need the entire space the Seahawks use, a fair and reasonable estimate of 24,000 sg ft makes the cost of rent for the team on a yearly basis in the neighborhood of $400,000 – $750,000 a year. Moving to the downtown area will not be cheap for an organization which prides itself on doing things right the first time.
This number may not seem high to many, but factoring in the rent free aspect of the partnership, this will put a sizeable dent into any running budget.
Location , Location, Location
The Seattle Sounders will occupy an undisclosed location within Pioneer Square district in south Seattle. This is an odd choice of location for a team looking to expand its academy, build residences, and have an overall “campus” feel to its corporate organization. Unlike the Seattle Seahawks the Sounders will not have their corporate offices intermixed with their practice facilities at the present time.
With a revenue stream of $48 million and profit of $18 million in 2012 according to Forbes (estimated $60 million and revenue of $16 million in 2013). There is an extremely low probability the team will build a soccer specific stadium, so the move to South Seattle is a short-term one.
With the plans to expand its academy presence and build some type of residency for the its young players, there will be a team currently looking at potential sites for future headquarters expansion.
Who Stays? Who Goes?
The most lucrative aspect of the seemless entwinement of the Sounders and Seahawks, was in how they shared staff. For the Sounders, there was no need to come in and higher a large staff and spend millions of dollars on payroll, when over half the staff was already established and being paid. This will end.
The great thing about a mentor/mentee relationship, if you get the right mentor the potential for your success is limit less. Given the right circumstances and environment a professional organization can be taught how to be just that, a first class professional organism. The Seahawks have provided that in this case. Teaching those from fútbol how to run a top of the line marketing and sales department or how to properly orchestrate the inner workings of a media and communications team.
This ying and yang of the two organizations will end, and will have a long-lasting impact on shape and future of the franchise for years to come. While picking the right people to make the jump to Pioneer Square will be difficult, ultimately the success of the franchise, will be how well the next generation of employee does.
If the current batch of holdovers who make the journey with the team to south Seattle can effectively teach those they hire on, and create a similiar atmosphere of success which was achieved within the walls of the VMAC, the Sounders will be fruitful for years to come.