By John Boyle
While it was in no way the wish of the franchise, the fact is that Sounders FC benefited, to some degree, from the Sonics departure. Just as our region’s beloved basketball franchise was being hijacked by Oklahomans and the NBA’s evil commissioner, a new soccer franchise was launching. I have no doubt that the Sounders would have been a big success with or without an NBA team around, but the fact that there were sports fans with a little extra money and time on their hands—fans who were eager to support a league other than the NBA—certainly didn’t hurt the Sounders.
Which brings us to the present tense, when the Sounders are a well-established team in the area, drawing more than 38,000 fans per game last season, a number that is only expected to go up in 2012. One of the big stories of the past couple of weeks has been the possibility of NBA and/or NHL franchises coming to Seattle in the not-so-distant future to play in a new arena that would be built in Sodo, just south of Safeco Field.
Sounders FC general manager and part owner Adrian Hanauer was asked his thoughts on the possibility, and said in general he is in favor of something that would improve the city he has called home for his entire life.
“I don’t know, but that’s not in my hands,” he said. “Generally as a Seattle guy, anything that improves the quality of life in the region, development in the city, I’m in favor of. If there is competition, we just have to rise to the occasion and be good competitors and good partners.”
Hanauer said no discussions have been held on this topic within the Sounders organization, or with Vulcan Sports, Paul Allen’s company that oversees the Sounders, Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers.
“All of those opinions may not necessarily be the same, but I think generally everybody wants development and quality in our community,” he said.