In what the club is calling a “major announcement,” the Seattle Sounders FC revealed that 11 new families have joined the team’s ownership group, ushering in a “new era.” These families all have Seattle ties, and a few of the names will be quite familiar.
For one, the Wilson family, namely Super Bowl winning quarterback Russell and his wife, Grammy award winner Ciara.
“Seattle means so much to me and Ciara. We’re fired up about being part of the Sounders for a long, long time, having ownership in the Sounders and continuing to build that winning culture,” said Russell Wilson. “When I got here in 2012, Seattle was a place that I felt I could call home forever. And obviously because of the Seahawks, and now because of the Sounders, it makes that really come to life. This city is a special place. The Pacific Northwest is a place we love and we get to raise our kids here and have a lot of fun while doing it. We want to bring the best soccer players in the world right here to Seattle.”
Ciara is not the only Grammy winner involved, however. Seattle-born hip hop artist Macklemore has also joined the group, along with his wife Tricia Davis.
“Man, to be part of this organization, having grown up in Seattle – it’s pretty surreal. It’s just very exciting,” said Macklemore. “I’m very honored. I think we have a great group. This team is building an incredible legacy and I’m just excited to be part of it.”
Other new investors include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and his wife Anu, as well as CFO Amy Hood and her husband Max Kleinman, as well as other current and Microsoft executives Terry Myerson and wife Katy, Joe Belfiore and wife Kristina, Soma Somasegar and wife Akila, and Chee Chew and wife Christine, who is President of the Bellevue School Board. Also joining are David and Sabina Nathanson, Brian McAndrews, Elise Holschuch, and Mark and Tomoko Agne. David Nathanson serves as the Head of Business Operations at FOX Sports Media Group. McAndrews is former CEO of Pandora and aQuantive and Executive Vice President & General Manager of ABC Sports.
“Today we begin another chapter in the story of Seattle Sounders FC, this proud club that means so much to so many people,” said Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer. “We are doubling down on this community and growing our local roots even deeper. Sounders FC was born right here in Seattle, and for more than 40 years, the club has forged a meaningful legacy that is deep and far-reaching. Today’s news is a testament to what our community has accomplished, as 11 new families have joined with the broader Sounders family as fans and invested stewards of our club.”
Hanauer continues, “This diverse, passionate group of new partners wants to continue developing the club’s community-first approach, while also furthering its proud winning tradition on the field. Collectively, we believe that Seattle is the greatest city in the world and that Sounders FC has a responsibility to both preserve our region’s unique spirit while also leading our community by fostering an environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all. On behalf of our entire Sounders family, I want to extend a proud and warm welcome to our club’s new partners.”
These new investors join the current ownership group consisting of majority owner Adrian Hanauer, Drew Carey, Jody Allen, Paul Barry, and Lenore Hanauer.
As part of the shake-up, former majority owner Joe Roth is now no longer affiliated with the club. Roth, a Hollywood producer, was pivotal in bringing MLS to Seattle in 2009 and under his ownership the team won six major trophies, including four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups and the team’s first MLS Cup in 2017.
“When MLS gave me permission to look at the Pacific Northwest to start a soccer franchise, there was no question that Seattle was the place,” said Roth. “The last ten years watching our Sounders grow with their incredible fan support beat any hit movie I ever created. I love the team, from the players to the staff, and most of all I love the fans. When they write the history book of soccer in America, it was Seattle that propelled our game into being perceived as a first-tier sport. You did that! I’ll be a Sounder until I die. Thank you Adrian, Drew, Paul and Jody Allen, as well as the new partners. The club is just getting started.”