Adrian Hanauer first kept the flame of professional soccer alive in Seattle before helping to reignite the community’s passion for the game with the arrival of a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in 2009.
As General Manager, Hanauer led Sounders FC to extraordinary success during the first five seasons. In 2013, Seattle reached the MLS playoffs for the fifth-consecutive season, one of just three teams to do so. Sounders FC has carried that success internationally, becoming the first MLS team to eliminate a Mexican club from CONCACAF Champions League and is one of just four MLS teams to advance to the semifinals of the tournament. Seattle is also the first team to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League in each of its first three years, including two-straight quarterfinal appearances (2011-12, 2012-13).
In 2012, Hanauer architected a team that advanced to the Western Conference Championship for the first time in club history. Sounders FC also became just third team in the 99-year history of the tournament to win three consecutive Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championships (2009, 2010, 2011), and just the second to qualify for four consecutive finals (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). This success helped Hanauer be retained as the team’s general manager in the first-ever fan vote in American professional sports history. A total of 13,755 votes were submitted during the two-month window and he received 96.3-percent of the votes for retention. Hanauer was also honored as the 2012 Executive of the Year at the 78th MTR Western Sports Star of the Year Awards, given to an individual for contributions to the success of the regional sports industry.
Hanauer has not only guided Seattle to success on the field, but he is largely responsible for the club’s achievements off the field. Sounders FC has set the league attendance record each season since 2009, averaging 44,038 in 2013, over 20,000 more than the next-closest team. Seattle hosted the second-largest crowd for a standalone MLS match when 67,385 packed CenturyLink Field for a Cascadia Cup match against the rival Portland Timbers.
Since 2001, Hanauer has been associated with the highest level of soccer played in Seattle. He first joined the ownership group of the Sounders franchise in the United Soccer League’s First Division, and later became majority shareholder and general manager. His first season in that role, 2002, was rewarded with Seattle going 23-4-1—the second-best record in league history. From 2004-07, the Sounders played in the USL-1 championship game three times, winning twice (2005, 2007) and also taking a Commissioner’s Cup (best record) in 2007.
Hanauer has more than 20 years of business experience in a variety of other industries. On numerous occasions he has made early stage investments in technology companies with interests in advertising, infrastructure, and wireless communications. Hanauer co-founded Curious Office Partners, which invests in and incubates early stage technology companies. He was a seed stage investor in aQuantive Inc., the largest interactive advertising company which was later acquired by Microsoft for $6 billion US, and he was also an early investor in Amazon.com.
Hanauer also brings a great deal of “brick and mortar” business experience. The Hanauer family owns Pacific Coast Feather Co., the nation’s largest manufacturer of pillows, comforters, and bedding products. He also owns one of the largest chains of picture framing companies in the United States, as well as a small chain of pizza restaurants.
Involved in many organizations in Seattle, Hanauer sits on the Board of Trustees for the Museum of History and Industry. He has also sat on the advisory board of the University of Washington Intercollegiate Sports Master's Degree Program.
Hanauer's interest in soccer began at the age of three, and he saw his first NASL Sounders game at the age of eight. He went on to play for Mercer Island High School and remains active in the Greater Seattle Soccer League.
In addition to his interest in Sounders FC, Hanauer is one of the largest shareholders of England’s Cambridge United Football Club, currently of the English Conference (fifth tier). While with the USL Sounders, Hanauer promoted international matches, most notably an exhibition between Real Madrid and D.C. United which attracted a then-record Seattle crowd of 66,612 to CenturyLink Field in 2006. The Sounders also arranged friendlies featuring Mexico’s Club America and Britain’s Sunderland, Cardiff City FC and Preston North End.
Hanauer attended the University of Washington.