With 2024 on the horizon, the club is not only opening the Sounders FC Center at Longacres that year, it is also celebrating its 50th anniversary as part of the greater Puget Sound community. A major milestone for the organization, the club’s March to the 50th is intended as a two-year rallying cry for both celebrating that unique history while also casting an eye to the future.
March to the 50th
Now it’s time to lend our voices to the next era of Sounders History. This isn’t just a survey, it’s our time to recommit to what we stand for and how we stand apart. To shape the future of our club.
Sounders fans named the original 1974 North American Soccer League team, again choosing the same team name in 2008 prior to the club’s launch in Major League Soccer, winning by an overwhelming majority via write-in option. Since joining MLS, the club has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with its Alliance Members – as Sounders FC season ticket holders are known – working on everything together from the club’s General Manager vote, Alliance Annual Business Meetings and kit designs for the players. This Democracy in Sports ethos runs throughout the entire organization, and as the club prepares for its future and explores its brand and visual identities, Sounders FC is beginning the process of reaching out to its fan base to begin an open dialogue.
“From our club’s perspective, the next 50 years of Sounders history start right now,” said Sounders FC Owner & President of Business Operations Peter Tomozawa. “Our new home at --- gives us a generational opportunity to not only invest in the organization by developing the most advanced facilities for our players and operations, but also to deepen our roots and engage with the community in meaningful and new ways. Part of that process includes a thoughtful discussion around our brand identity. Our club is and always will be what our fans say it is. That’s a core part of our club culture and is something we want to emphasize during this process. Fan input is critical to understanding who we are and what we stand for. As we take stock of those conversations, we believe this kind of dialogue will better inform all aspects of Sounders FC. This includes everything from how we represent our community to the team’s physical visual identity, including our marks and club crest.”
An opportunity to connect even deeper with Sounders FC’s distinct heritage, history and traditions, the club is engaging multiple groups in these discussions to determine if they would like to see the club’s brand evolve, and if so, in what ways. This processed includes the following audiences:
- Sounders FC Fans – All past and present Sounders FC fans are invited to take part.
- Alliance Members – Sounders FC Alliance Members, especially Alliance Council, are integral to this process.
- Sounders FC Stakeholders – Current players, former players, Sounders FC staff, in addition to past and present leaders from the organization are being involved in the brand exploration process.
- The Greater Seattle and Washington State Communities – Sounders FC takes immense pride in representing both Puget Sound and the Evergreen State. The club is emblematic of this region and hearing from the greater public is a welcome part of the process. A target date of 2024 has been set to fully explore the findings and better connect the club’s rich past to its lofty future. The process is spearheaded by Sounders FC’s Marketing and Brand groups, led by Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer Taylor Graham, with the involvement of several blue-chip brand and design agencies.
Below is further information on the team of brand and creative contributors involved in Sounders FC’s March to the 50th initiative.
- Athletics – Athletics is an independent design studio that builds brand systems to empower teams. Guided by the belief that good design should inspire meaningful change, the company partners with entrepreneurs to turn ideas into sustainable businesses and help industry leaders adapt to the demands of modern culture. With deep experience in culture and sport, Athletics has worked with clients such as MLS, USL, Nike / U.S. Soccer, Nashville SC and many others.
- Column – Column is a Seattle design studio that specializes in developing brand systems. They have partnered closely with Sounders FC for the past four years on various branding initiatives, including the club’s in-stadium matchday experience, the 2019 MLS Cup championship celebration, the 2019 Family campaign and the Jimi Hendrix Kit launch. In addition to Sounders FC, Column works with a range of diverse brands, spanning a variety of categories — from consumer packaged goods to restaurants to sports and tech. Brands like Microsoft, Gordon Ramsay, Red Bull, Salomon Sports, Darigold and Jones Soda to name a few. The three partners of the firm were born and raised in the Seattle area—one of which has been a life-long Sounders supporter and season ticket holder since 2009.
- DNA – DNA is an award-winning Seattle-based independent agency obsessed with impact. They work with ambitious clients and brands to move people, business and culture forward. Ambitious brands want to create impact and that’s what we come to work to do – creating, positive lasting impact not only for our clients, but for our people and the world at large.
- Kyle Sheldon – Kyle Sheldon has dedicated the majority of his career to growing the game of soccer in North America. In addition to stints at Major League Soccer clubs D.C. United and Chicago Fire FC, he served as Seattle Sounders FC’s head of marketing and brand from 2016 to 2018.