Normally this time of year, my dad, brother and I head off for a little male-bonding on a high altitude lake in the B.C. Interior in hopes of hooking a rainbow on the fly. This year however, the lure of a Seattle sports doubleheader on the calendar proved too tempting. So with tickets and passports in hand, we hit the I-5 bright and early Saturday morning – to catch the Sounders kick-off at 1:00 pm, followed by the Mariners playing host to the Minnesota Twins at 6:00 pm.
Both venues for the games – CenturyLink Field (also home to the Seattle Seahawks) and Safeco Field – are nothing short of spectacular. And while the Sounders somewhat predictably humbled our Vancouver Whitecaps, what was most impressive was the attendance for the game – a boisterous 55,718 – all of whom stood, for the entire 90 minutes. In fact the Seattle Sounders, considered by some observers to be the most successful expansion franchise in professional sports history, have set Major League Soccer average attendance records annually since their inaugural season: 30,897 in 2009, 36,173 in 2010 and 38,498 in 2011. This year, average attendance will exceed 42,500 – another league record. “That figure would rank Seattle fourth in the top leagues in Italy and Spain, sixth in the English Premier League and 11th in Germany. The team also has the league’s highest television ratings, which would rank in the top third of the NHL and top half of the NBA” (Source).
Interestingly the club’s five-year partnership with Xbox is set to expire after next season; a high-profile entertainment and sports agency has already been hired to explore opportunities with other companies. With a brand this sizzling hot, there’ll soon be a lot more than just goals to count when it comes to the Sounders!