Support Marketplace

MLS team allows fans to play owner

Fans of the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field in Seattle.

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Major League Soccer continues its play-offs this weekend. The LA Galaxy faces off against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday. Two years ago, the Sounders weren't even in the league. But now the team's unique business strategy has made it number one when it comes to ticket sales. Josh Platis reports.


JOSH PLATIS: Here at Qwest Field where the Sounders play, the place has the feel of a World Cup soccer final. Every seat is sold out and the cheering is deafening. What is it about the Sounders? Their championship coach? The talented foreign players? That certainly shows up in their level of play. But maybe the team's financial success has more to do with the Sounders owners giving fans the power to make some team decisions. Fans can join the Sounders team membership association and periodically vote on whether team management stays or goes.

Tripp Mickle is with Sports Business Journal.

TRIPP MICKLE: You're literally an owner of this team, you have a say in how it's run. That's unusual in professional sports.

Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer is one of the managers that can be voted out, but he supports the arrangement.

ADRIAN HANAUER: It all is part of sort of a bigger plan which is to make sure that our fans are engaged and that they're part of the process.

Since it debuted 16 years ago, Major League Soccer has had a hard go of it. Many teams are struggling to make a profit. But the Sounders typically double the league's average attendance and sell more merchandise than any other team.

In Seattle, I'm Josh Platis for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...