Back in September, the Seattle Sounders unveiled a new visual identity ahead of the 2024 season. It was an evolution that incorporated the club’s history as it prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Moreover, it was the first touchpoint of a series of exciting developments on the horizon for the Sounders, with the next few years having the potential to be transformative for the organization.
“It almost feels like the new shield is appropriate to be wearing at this time because as we look back, there's so much to celebrate, but there's so much more to come as a team,” said President of Business Operations Hugh Weber.
The 50th anniversary serves as a jumping-off point for the Sounders to present activations and projects that align with the club’s mission while also impacting lives in the community, expanding the fan base of the team, and growing the game of soccer.
“What you'll see over the next 12 months is not just a cool event, a new logo markup, or a matchday experience that might be a little bit different,” said Weber. “You're going to see us engage the community, whether it's our Season Ticket Members, our fans, our corporate partners, or our community partners in a variety of different types of events over the course of a year which will celebrate different parts of the past and also look forward to the things we might be able to do in the future.”
Simply put, the brand evolution set the stage for the countless exciting initiatives the club has in store for the Sounders community.
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“It's a tribute to a lot of people working really hard and doing it in a way that is super authentic to who the Sounders are and what we stand for in the community,” said Weber. “The work that goes into aligning what the team direction is, the storytelling behind it, what it actually looks like, there are 1000 different workflows that were happening, and they all came together in a way that everyone has been super happy with.”
And with the establishment of a new state-of-the-art facility in the Sounders FC Center at Longacres, the opportunity to compete in the 2025 FIFA Club World Cup, and Seattle being a host city for 2026 FIFA World Cup matches, the next few years have the potential to accelerate growth at an unprecedented scale.
The opening of Longacres, the club’s new headquarters that will house all soccer and business operations, means more than just providing first-class facilities that support, promote, and develop the club’s athletes. It also represents a blank canvas — one that opens up a world of possibilities beyond soccer.
“The development here at the Longacres campus is more than just our practice pitches. It has potential for music venues, potential residences, retail, restaurants, and the draw of the team of course, but it's all connected,” said Weber.
It will also provide a more community centric atmosphere for the fans to enjoy.
“We want our fans and our partners to feel that it is a welcoming place that they can come to,” said Weber. “Obviously extraordinary things happen here, with our training, our incredible athletes doing amazing work, but we will be opening this up to lots of events along with invitations to have not our fans just see us on match days, but to come and be a part of how we do work as well.”
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The significance of Longacres ties into the upcoming 2025 FIFA Club World Cup and 2026 FIFA World Cup as well, with the chance to serve as a training site for some of the top clubs and national teams around the globe.
The two biggest tournaments in the world will propel the club’s goals on and off the field even further, elevating the Sounders brand toward global recognition.
“We talk about the Sounders having aspirations for global affinity and people following us,” said Weber. “And [I believe] the 2025 Club World Cup, Seattle as a destination city for the World Cup in 2026, are all things that drive reputational value for the Sounders."
Weber believes the stature of the two tournaments will also reach untapped demographics. Whether it be people who are sports fans, but not necessarily soccer fans, people who are soccer fans, but not necessarily MLS fans, or people who are not fans at all of any sport, but are fans of their community, “the World Cup and the global nature of it and the attention that it will bring to Seattle is something that appeals to all of those groups,” according to Weber.
So through the Sounders’ support during these big events, the club is in a position to let individuals know who they are, what they stand for, and to be utilized as a soccer outlet for World Cup fans moving forward.
The Sounders have already established their status as one of the top clubs in North America, but they are looking to take that next step forward globally. Whether it be on the soccer or business side of the franchise, the Rave Green are determined to utilize the upcoming years of events and projects to broaden their reach and become a world-renowned organization they’ve worked toward becoming for so long.
Weber said it perfectly.
“In the next five or 10 years, [we want to] differentiate the Sounders not just as being an incredible MLS team but being an incredible business in the Seattle Community, being an incredible sports franchise within the sports industry, and being an incredible soccer club in the global ecosystem of soccer.”