Seattle Sounders FC today announced the addition of Tod and Tara Leiweke to the club’s Ownership Group. The Leiwekes join the Rave Green’s Seattle-focused family of team owners, bringing their rich knowledge and experience from the world of professional sports, as well a special passion for the greater Seattle community and Puget Sound region.
“It is a proud day for Sounders FC, as we officially welcome the Leiweke family as partners in our club’s future,” said Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer. “When Tod and Tara returned to Seattle two years ago to lead the Kraken, I was thrilled on a professional level to have Tod back in the Seattle sports scene, but also, more personally, to welcome back some of the finest, most caring and genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. Given Tod’s history with the club, I couldn’t have been more enthusiastic when the Leiwekes expressed interest in reinvolving themselves with Sounders FC on a deeper level. Their ownership stake was finalized earlier this year, though we chose at the time to delay the official announcement due to the gravity of the issues being faced throughout the world. While these issues certainly remain, as a club we felt it was time to share the news.”
No stranger to the Emerald City, Leiweke’s roots in Seattle sports run deep. The St. Louis native led the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks from 2002-2010 as Chief Executive Officer, during which time he spearheaded the re-invention of the “12s” concept, still celebrated and synonymous with Seahawks support across the globe. Leiweke also oversaw Sounders FC’s expansion into MLS in 2009, helping the club make its wildly successful jump into the top tier of American soccer.
Following his first stint in Seattle, Leiweke served as CEO of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning from 2010-2015 before joining the National Football League as Chief Operating Officer, the righthand position to Commissioner Roger Goodell. Leiweke returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2018, hired to serve as CEO of the then-unnamed Seattle NHL expansion franchise.
Now dubbed the Seattle Kraken, Leiweke is set to lead Seattle’s newest professional sports team as it hits the ice in 2021. Alongside wife Tara, the seasoned sports executive further deepened his Seattle sports roots earlier this year when deciding to rejoin Sounders FC, this time in an ownership capacity.
“As a family, we have been privileged to enjoy an incredible journey through the professional sports world, but anyone that knows us understands that Seattle is home, and our fondness for Sounders FC runs deep,” said Tod and Tara Leiweke. “Our friendship with Adrian dates back to a time when the idea of launching Sounders FC in Major League Soccer was just beginning. The launch of the club was a truly special moment in our lives, and seeing the organization thrive from the very beginning is something we take a lot of pride in. In our time away from Seattle, we always followed this great club, and to be able to return to it now is significant for us.”
With their previous experience assisting Sounders FC in its initial launch, the Leiwekes have a strong foundational knowledge of the club’s close ties to the community and its fans. They join the rest of the Rave Green’s ownership contingent with a passion for continuing to build a successful franchise that represents the city and wider region.
Last summer, Sounders FC announced the addition of 11 families to the team’s Ownership Group. The new investors were led by former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson and his wife Katie, and included Seattle icons such as Ciara and husband Russell Wilson, Macklemore and wife Tricia Davis, and many more, creating a diverse roster of partners with direct ties to Seattle and a wealth of experience in sports, entertainment, technology, broadcast, finance and beyond. Following that initial news, the club then announced the addition of a 12th family to the Ownership Group, as current President of Business Operations Peter Tomozawa and wife Donna LeDuc officially joined the organization.
The Leiwekes join this group of diverse partners, adding to Sounders FC’s longstanding ownership contingent of Adrian Hanauer, Lenore Hanauer, Drew Carey, Jody Allen and Paul Barry. More information on the club’s full Ownership Group can be found via SoundersFC.com.