Seattle Sounders FC is a football team from Seattle. It is a member of the Western Conference of Major League Soccer. It is a successor of the similarly-named club from the North American Soccer League, which had been founded in 1974 and had fallen apart on September 6, 1983, due to some financial troubles.
Seattle Sounders was revived in 1994. Seattle joined the United Soccer League with a new franchise owned by Scott Oki – former Microsoft manager. In 1997 it moved to USL First Division. Paul Allen, one of the team decision-makers, tried to promote it to MLS, but the town did not comply with football standards. He had considered the commissioner’s requirements and constructed Seahawks Stadium but got a refusal again: since 2000, sports organizations should be managed not by the league, but by investors.
In 2002 CEO Adrian Hanauer became the club’s majority owner. The entrepreneur combined forces with strong partners for covering the 30 mln franchise fees: Joe Roth got 35% of shares, Adrian Hanauer – 32.5%, Paul Allen – 25%, Drew Carey – 7.5%. On November 13, 2007, the league met them halfway. A similarly-named team appeared instead of Seattle Sounders from USL. In 2009 it joined MLS. It was a “phoenix club” which became the successor of the original NASL club.
The managers organized a survey for naming the club. During March 27-31, 2008, the supporters had to choose between Seattle Alliance, Seattle Republic, or Seattle FC. The organizers removed Seattle Sounders on purpose for changing the brand image drastically. This caused a wave of protest among the local community, so the owners allowed stating their name.
Among 14500 respondents, 49% proposed different forms of the word “Sounders.” It is related to Puget Sound – a bay not far from Seattle. “FC” is for “Football Club,” but the official version of the name contains an abbreviation.
This name belonged to Adrian Hanauer, so there were no problems with rights’ transfer to MLS. In 2015 Hanauer became a majority investor instead of Joe Roth. In 2019 Roth left the owner group. Eleven powerful families New Sounders FC Partners) managed by Vice-President Microsoft Terry Myerson took his place. The rest of the shares were divided between such minorities as Peter Tomozawa, Jody Allen, Drew Carey, and Paul Allen.
Meaning and History
The original 1974-1982 Seattle Sounders logo represents a “submerged” name “Seattle Sounders” with a soccer ball instead of the letter “O” and waves that resemble the Seattle port. This graphical symbol was used again in 2003-2008 when Adrian Hanauer occupied Qwest Field. In 1983 the new owners made a rebranding. They made the logo white-and-blue and added the Space Needle. After the team was reborn in 1994, a killer whale was drawn instead of the building, which hit the ball with his head.
1994 – 2008
After the team was revived in 1994, the team logo was adopted where the inscription Sounders and the place of the letter “O” were shown, a killer whale playing a soccer ball.
2009 – present
In 2009 the Seattle Sounders logo was changed again. This was devoted to the moving of the club to MLS. The presentation took place on April 7, 2008, at the Space Needle. This place was chosen for a good reason: the famous sight was put in crosshairs again. The world-recognized symbol of Seattle was drawn inside a complex heraldic shield, which consists of two parts. The combination of elements means co-operation between the team owners, players, the town, and supporters.
The color scheme of the Seattle Sounders logo is also symbolic. Blue (Sounder Blue) symbolizes the water around the town, in particular, Puget Sound. Green (Rave Green) refers to the forests in the north-west of the Pacific. The dark grey outlines are related to the Cascade Range Mountains east of Seattle. The words “Seattle Sounders FC” have the same color. It was printed inside a curved white rectangle across the Seattle Sounders logo and had short serifs on letters “U,” “D,” “E,” “R,” and “F.”