Press Release

Sounders FC unveils six-year strategic growth plan, appointing industry veteran Hugh Weber to lead

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Majority Owner of Seattle Sounders FC Adrian Hanauer today outlined an ambitious six-year growth strategy for Seattle Sounders FC, which includes team-associated investments beginning with the development of a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment site in Renton, which is poised to become one of the largest and most advanced training facilities in Major League Soccer. This initiative encompasses Sounders FC’s and Seattle’s bedrock roles in the effort to host the FIFA World Cup 2026™ in the Emerald City.

To maximize the community, brand and global commercial opportunities denoted within Hanauer’s ambitious six-year plan, the club has appointed 25-year sports industry veteran and former NBA and NHL team president Hugh Weber. Weber is responsible for supporting and activating Hanauer’s strategic vision, as well as leading the club’s business operations, internal and global growth initiatives, and continuing Sounders FC’s deep commitment to developing and positively impacting the Seattle community. Weber comes to the Rave Green from Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, where he most recently served as President for the parent company of the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center, and other holdings including Premier League club Crystal Palace.

“In the 20 years that I’ve had the privilege to guide this franchise, I have never felt more optimistic about the organization’s ability to lead and grow. Not only in our region, but to position our franchise among the most admired and innovative clubs globally,” said Adrian Hanauer. “Expanding our reach and influence will increase our capacity to work for the betterment of the local communities we serve.”

“Securing a leader that has the track record to build Sounders FC beyond our history of success, while also balancing my trust and aligned values, is critical as we take the club forward,” Hanauer continued. “After 25 years of leading NBA and NHL franchises, Hugh’s desire to return to his home market of Seattle provides the perfect moment to appoint such a leader. The timing is fortuitous, accompanying Peter Tomozawa’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead Seattle’s 2026 FIFA World Cup initiative, creating an ideal moment to position our club and community for optimal success and growth in soccer.”

“I am grateful and honored to return to my roots and contribute back to the community that has been core to the person I have become. I am inspired by the deep connection that the community has to the Sounders and appreciate the importance of my role in continuing the legacy and deep commitment that has been built over the last 49 years of the team’s existence,” said Hugh Weber. “In my career, I am fortunate to have contributed to teams that accomplished extraordinary results. To be able to apply those learnings, in partnership with a trusted friend and leader I esteem, in a community I call home, made this a very personal decision.”

“I have watched the teams and organizations under Hugh’s leadership win awards and industry acclaim for their commitment, innovation, and success in business, community, marketing, partnerships, property development and culture,” Hanauer added. “As a long-time industry peer and friend, I have appreciated his council and perspective on business and growth decisions related to Sounders FC.”

Sounders FC Owner Peter Tomozawa remains with the organization in his ownership role, but is transitioning from his day-to-day duties following four successful seasons as the club’s President of Business Operations. On Tuesday he was appointed CEO of SEA 2026, the local organizing committee that is charged with readying the Emerald City for FIFA World Cup 2026™.

Said Weber, “I’d like to sincerely thank Peter Tomozawa for his time serving as our first President of Business Operations. Peter invigorated the club and helped us take new steps forward, setting us up for this crucial next period in period in club history. He’ll remain an important part of Sounders FC at the ownership level, and I continue to value his counsel and influence.”

"I am thrilled about the addition of Hugh Weber to the Sounders family,” said Peter Tomozawa. “He brings the Sounders a wealth of knowledge and experience with his extensive background across the NBA, NHL, Premier League and related enterprises. As a Minority Owner of the Sounders, I am a believer in always putting the best people in place. I have had the privilege of getting to know Hugh really well and we speak regularly. He is the perfect person to lead the organization forward, and I look forward to working with Hugh and the Sounders as we build toward the FIFA World Cup in 2026.”

Hanauer’s strategic plan and vision aligns with one of the most transformational periods in club history. Major initiatives include:

• The completion of a state-of-the-art training facility and corporate office for the Sounders FC Center at Longacres. Plans for the 158-acre site include a holistic “live, work, play” design, with office space, retail, housing, recreational sports and the ability to host live events. 

• A year-long brand and community campaign to celebrate the Sounders FC’s 50th Anniversary in 2024, known as March to the 50th.

• Sounders FC’s initiatives to align and maximize club engagement with the largest sporting event in the world, FIFA World Cup 2026™. Seattle’s successful bid to host global soccer’s showcase event was announced in June of last year.

• Exploration of strategic investments and acquisitions that build synergies with Sounders FC, including real estate, technology and fan engagement platforms.

• Growth of the core Sounders FC business operations structure with a continued and increased emphasis on community and fan-centric initiatives.

As Seattle’s next President of Business Operations, Weber is being tasked with executing strategic investments for the club. He is assuming oversight of all departments within Sounders FC’s business operations structure, inclusive of administration, legal, finance, social impact, marketing, communications, broadcasting, fan experience, membership engagement and customer service, ticket sales and operations, premium sales, hospitality and corporate partnerships.

Weber’s accomplishments earned him a reputation as one of the sports industry’s most respected executives, with a long record of success. In his nine years in New Jersey – serving as President of the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center from 2013-2019 before being promoted to President of parent company Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment from 2019-2022 – Weber oversaw tremendous growth, both in business revenue and opportunities. He gained a reputation for being an innovator in sports and entertainment, with a focus on early adoption in new ventures. Under Weber, the 76ers were the first NBA team to sign a jersey patch deal, while the Devils were the first NHL team with a helmet decal sponsor. After sports betting was legalized in New Jersey, Weber’s Devils signed deals that would become the model for other franchises. In his first year with the Devils, season ticket renewals jumped from 85 to 93 percent, with the third-most full season ticket sales in the NHL.

Prior to his time with the New Jersey Devils and HBSE (Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment), Weber served as President of the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets (2005-2012). He took over a team reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and, under his tenure, led it to record-setting ticket sales and sponsorship numbers, helping the Hornets find solid ground that ensured a future in New Orleans.

With his wide-ranging experience across the sports and entertainment spectrum, Weber now takes over a Sounders organization entering a period of great opportunity. Earlier this month, Seattle became the first team to represent the United States or Canada at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, following the club’s historic victory in last year’s Concacaf Champions League. This marked the first time that a club from Major League Soccer has been crowned continental champion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

In 2024, Sounders FC is opening a new state-of-the-art facility on the site of Boeing’s former commercial aviation headquarters at Longacres in Renton. For the first time in team history, all Sounders FC business and team front office executives will be headquartered at the same location – including the Sounders FC First Team, Tacoma Defiance, Sounders Academy and developmental roster players.

Weber is at the center of all these efforts, which lead into the arrival of the biggest sporting event in the world in 2026: the FIFA World Cup. Last year, Seattle was named a host city for this prestigious tournament, with Sounders FC working alongside SEA 2026 to deliver an impactful and inclusive World Cup for the Emerald City.

Weber was born and raised in Tacoma and is the father of four grown children: Brenna, Zoë, Hugh III and Jackson. In the markets where his previous NBA and NHL front offices were based, Weber became an active board member of a variety of community, economic development and entrepreneurship-driven organizations, reflecting his priorities and personal mission to invest in the community, youth, businesses and leaders around him.

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