Sounder’s Annual Business Meeting ends in 2022

Seattle Sounders and the Alliance Council bid farewell to the 2022 season Wednesday night with the club’s 14th Annual Business Meeting. This was the first in-person edition of the ABM in several years, and the event was held at the Longacres facility.

After an odd season that included both historic highs (CCL win!!!) and the low of missing the playoffs for the first time in the club’s MLS era, there were two key points of interest. The first was the result of the general manager vote, which gave Garth Lagerwey a clear vote of confidence with 90% of voters approving his performance.

“It’s a good pressure test. Is the organization healthy? Do the fans feel they are getting good value for their money? When you see 90% agreement, I think that’s a good sign that we’re doing something right,” Lagerwey said of the vote.

The vote proved a futile gesture, however, as only 31.4% of eligible voters turned out, slightly less than the 40% turnout required for a binding vote. Still, from the fanbase’s perspective, it’s a good sign of confidence in Lagerwey despite the team missing out on the playoffs.

The second major point of interest was the March to the 50th campaign, a project focused on the evolution of the club’s brand and visual identity to coincide with its 50th anniversary in 2024. Jeremiah Oshan wrote about the updates to the project, but the most important thing is that there will be a new coat of arms in 2024. It’ll likely feel fairly familiar as the name and colors won’t change, but the new crest should fuse elements of the crest we’ve known from the entire MLS era up to this point with aspects of the club’s history and founding elements of the region .

Aside from these main points, a number of other interesting topics were covered throughout the evening. Peter Tomozawa, Owner and President of Business Operations, and Garth Lagerwey, GM and President of Soccer, among others, spoke at various points about the newly announced broadcast agreement with Apple TV. Lagerwey focused on the deal’s potential reach and impact, as the plan makes broadcasts available in many locations around the world where MLS was much less accessible. For his part, Tomozawa was unsurprisingly more interested in the business side of the deal. The key takeaway from his discussion was the hope that the club could sell subscriptions directly to fans, which could potentially mean special offers for Sounders fans or possibly even a more Sounders-focused version of the MLS Season Pass at a different price (note that this is a speculation by the author, not something that is certain).

The evening included a period in which attendees could choose one of four breakout sessions: one with Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer Taylor Graham to discuss the March 50th campaign and updates on the new crest, and one with Henry Brauner , VP of Player Development, on player development (duh), one with Chief Financial Officer Tom Riley focusing on the Longacres project, and one with Chief Operating Officer Maya Mendoza-Exstrom focusing on the Social Impact Report and the RAVE Foundation focused.

Some highlights from the breakout sessions and the rest of the evening:

  • Brauner emphasized the organization’s emphasis on developing good people, not just good players, and singled out Danny Leyva as the an example what the club is looking for.
  • Lagerwey said there is limited space on the list but that the team has room to sign a player or two at the TAM level. He also teased that a member of the U17 Academy team that won the 2022 GA Cup will be signing in the coming weeks.
  • According to Adrian Hanauer, “we may or may not get a new front-of-shirt sponsor for next season,” but either way, Zulily is expected to remain a partner in some ways going forward.
  • Tomozawa confirmed that the Fan Funded Field project is approximately 75% of the way towards its $50,000 goal, with additional fundraisers planned around the men’s World Cup games.
  • According to Graham, a new Sounders app will be launched in the next month or so.
  • Mendoza-Exstrom said the club is working towards being able to offer free or subsidized public transport with the purchase of Sounders tickets, similar to programs already offered by Kraken and Storm.
  • With the success of Samuel Adeniran’s loan deal to San Antonio in 2022 and the growing ranks of youth players between the First Team and Tacoma Defiance, expect more youth players to be on loan in 2023 and beyond.



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