Sounders FC: Authentic Masterpiece: The Inside Story of the Best Franchise Launch in American Sports History

Overview

It sounds like the start of a great joke: A minor-league sports executive, one of the richest men in the world, a stand-up comedian, and a Hollywood movie producer conspire to start a soccer team.

But what Adrian Hanauer, Paul Allen, Drew Carey, and Joe Roth did when they started the Seattle Sounders FC was no joke. They meticulously planned the launch of the Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise with an eye toward some lofty goals. Then they stood back in amazement as they ...

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Overview

It sounds like the start of a great joke: A minor-league sports executive, one of the richest men in the world, a stand-up comedian, and a Hollywood movie producer conspire to start a soccer team.

But what Adrian Hanauer, Paul Allen, Drew Carey, and Joe Roth did when they started the Seattle Sounders FC was no joke. They meticulously planned the launch of the Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise with an eye toward some lofty goals. Then they stood back in amazement as they rocketed far beyond those goals buoyed by a team that ignored its "expansion" label and a fan base that wildly embraced them.

Through interviews with key executives, athletes and fans, author Mike Gastineau tells the story leading up to the launch of Sounders FC, the MLS expansion franchise whose seemingly overnight success has captured the attention of the Seattle sports community, sports and entertainment executives, soccer followers across the country and the national news media.

In Sounders FC Authentic Masterpiece, readers will learn:

* How a money-losing soccer club rocketed from the ranks of the minor leagues to Major League Soccer drawing sell-outs and regularly topping 50,000 fans per match.

* The unique relationships between the eclectic group of seasoned sports executives, Hollywood celebrities and bar room soccer fans who came together to build a sports culture that validated Major League Soccer in Seattle and across the country.

* The personalities of the players and coaches who took different paths to the team and turned their diversity into a winning team starting on opening night.

Gastineau communicates to readers the entire history of events that led to the Sounders FC launch beginning with the role soccer fans played in securing a professional football stadium for the Seattle Seahawks. Also emphasized in the book are the soccer fans, bar owners and soccer subculture that existed in Seattle and was waiting to be acknowledge by mainstream professional sports leaders and media. The book also details how that soccer subculture directly impacted one of the biggest deals in MLS history, the signing of superstar Clint Dempsey in 2013.

This is a story of sports, business, culture, timing, and luck. It demonstrates how powerful business people were able to check their egos and embrace their customers all for the sake of the fans, the city, and a soccer culture desperate to embrace a sports team that treated them with respect.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-17
A behind-the-scenes look at the successful launch of a Major League Soccer franchise. After being founded in 2007 and playing their first game in 2009, the Seattle Sounders have been a model franchise not only for MLS but for sports in general, setting league attendance records and building a uniquely devoted fan base while avoiding the growing pains faced by other expansion teams. As the author writes, before the team was put together, Seattle had just experienced the loss of the NBA's Supersonics, and "the thought that Seattle, of all places, could be the home of the most successful sports franchise launch in American history was beyond rational belief." But the Sounders blossomed through the visionary efforts of three men in particular—movie executive Joe Roth, CEO Tod Leiweke and general manager Adrian Hanauer—who recognized the importance of forging a unique relationship between the team and the community. So tight is that bond that after the Sounders once lost badly at home, the team offered ticket refunds to every fan who attended the game. Management also bowed to the fans' wishes by agreeing not to have Budweiser sponsor the traditional pregame march to the stadium. "In almost every way they forged interactions with their fans that were different from anything that had been seen in American professional sports," Gastineau says. The author effectively captures the key signings of veteran goalkeeper Kasey Keller and Colombian forward Fredy Montero, who was so young at the time that his first question to management was, "If I go to the U.S., can I get medicine for my acne?" He also details the out-of-the-box contributions of comedian and co-owner Drew Carey, who, among other things, suggested fans vote on whether to keep the general manager in office. "It's great because the fans are invested in the team no matter what happens good or bad," Carey explains. The Sounders have yet to win an MLS Cup, but Gastineau has scored with this vivid history. An entertaining, thoughtful examination that will appeal not only to soccer fans but to anyone interested in the business of sports.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781491068342
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/7/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 251,978
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Gastineau has been a fixture in the Seattle sports broadcasting community since 1991. Until 2012 he anchored the afternoon drive time slot on KJR radio, talking with local sports fans, interviewing national newsmakers and pontificating about the relationships between fans, team owners, players and the guy with a beer next to you in the stands.

In December of 2012 he resigned from KJR to pursue other interests.

He is now a regular contributor to Pearl Jam Radio on Sirius XM channel 22. He does long form interviews with athletes, musicians, and other special guests. Gastineau's previous books include The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists with Art Thiel and Steve Rudman (Running Press, 2009) and he has been a contributor to The Seattle Times, Lindy's College Football and The Grand Salami.

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