MLS to Seattle: Did They Bone It? So far…yep.

With a hat-tip to Who Ate All the Cupcakes, I read this morning that a soccer-specific stadium is not on the cards at present for the potential/rumored Seattle Major League Soccer (MLS) club.  Due to Paul Allen’s reported involvement with the club, they’ll play their games in Seattle’s Qwest Field.  Those Who Eat Cupcakes don’t find this so upsetting as I do, based mainly on their impressions of Qwest as a facility for soccer – gathered first-hand for the record – and what happens with the revenue streams.

Having visited Qwest for a soccer event or two (I even think I once caught a game at Safeco Field, the joint for baseball), I don’t disagree in terms of the basic structure, even if I feel like no amount of decorative cover can overcome the consuming emptiness of a too-small crowd in a too-large building.  And the revenue thing is nice as well.  What’s not nice?  Working around an NFL schedule and staring at the damn grid lines.  I thought MLS was past the “take-what-we-can-get” mentality, but I’m guessing the national footprint thing won in the end.

So that’s the first thing they boned.  Here’s the second:

“The Sounders will be recognized for their second United Soccer Leagues First Division championship in the last three years next Sunday when the Seahawks host the New Orleans Saints.  Players will be honored on the field while a championship banner is raised on the west side of the stadium.”

Maybe others have had different experiences with football fans and soccer, but based on what I’ve seen down the (considerable) years, this has the potential to go badly.  They can expect nacho-and-beer searching indifference to this recognition ceremony.

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6 Responses

  1. A buddy of mine who is a Seahawks season ticket holder said once in reference to the Sounders: “I’ll root for anyone with Seattle on their jerseys.” I’ll think you’ll be surprised by the Sounders’ reception by the Seahawks crowd.

  2. That’s good to hear and I hope it holds up. On one level, I think booing – or anything like it – shows so little class that I can’t see anyone doing it. But I’m still amazed when I’m watching a soccer and some random person decides they just have to walk up and say, “Is that soccer? God, I hate that sport.” I’m sitting there thinking, “I didn’t ask. And you’re uglier than the ten-year old bubblegum I found under my chair.”

  3. If the Seahawks games I’ve been to are any gage (and they aren’t, so just pretend I’m waving my hands and pretending to know what I’m talking about (like that’s difficult)), the fans in Qwest will be tanked enough by halftime to cheer anything…

    But I had to figure that the whole Paul Allen thing was coming down, in order for Seattle to be short-listed and even rumored for ’08. The idea that they not only *don’t* have to pay rent on a stadium *nor* build a new structure (no matter how ill-equipped Qwest may or may not be for that purpose) was always going to be pretty compelling to MLS.

    Now that the MLS completely disregarded their own requirements for expansion teams, I wonder what it causes the other potential cities to think.

    And finally, Portland Meadows, the horse-track just south of Delta Park in Portland is rumored to be on the sales block. It *truly* has close public transportation (light rail) and lots of space contiguous to the current Delta Park soccer/ballfield complex.

    Portland MLS Franchise are you listening?

  4. Also, I think that the “not a new stadium right now” talk has a lot more to do with our current situation with the Sonics than anyone is really willing to admit. No one wants to make getting an MLS team depend on a funding package for an new stadium while Clay Bennett is in town jerking our chains.

    A little bit down the road maybe? The legislature put $30 million towards a new hockey arena just south of Seattle, which is closer in cost to an SSS than a new basketball arena.

  5. That’s a hell of a point, Emmett, a significant general hurdle to an MLS team in the Northwest, period. I know Portland has stadium angst to beat the band (perhaps because PGE, severe tenant complications notwithstanding, would make a good facility and Seattle can’t be all that keen after shelling out so much for both Qwest and Safeco. I think it’s the footprint thing and the now-and-never trap of just getting a presence in the Northwest.

  6. I don’t remember all of the particulars, but didn’t San Antonio have one of these types of deals that was too good to pass up in regards to revenues? It was so good that the city changed their mind on it, if I recall correctly.

    From my understanding, Qwest Field has all sorts of deals in place to make sure an MLS team doesn’t get shafted. Who knows for sure, but I think it will be a much better deal than playing at Arrowhead or Giants Stadium. Probably better than RFK for DCU as well, and better than Chivas paying rent at the HDC.

    The footprint issue is huge, and I wasn’t even thinking of it at first. Get Seattle in now, add Portland and Vancouver, and presto! It looks like it could be down to St. Louis and Philly fighting it out for the other slot to get to 18.

    Where’s MLS-2, that’s what’s going to be needed to get all of these cities in…

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