Seattle Kraken CEO and part-owner Tod Leiweke and his wife Tara have joined the Seattle Sounders FC ownership group, the club announced on Oct. 5.
Tod previously oversaw Sounders FC’s expansion into MLS in 2009. He was also CEO of the Seattle Seahawks from 2002-2010, then CEO of the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2010-2015 before becoming the NFL’s chief operating officer.
He returned to serve as CEO of the then-unnamed Seattle NHL expansion franchise in 2018.
The Leiwekes’ ownership stake in Sounders FC was finalized earlier this year, majority owner Adrian Hanauer said in an announcement, but the team “chose at the time to delay the official announcement due to the gravity of the issues being faced throughout the world.”
“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,” Hanauer said. “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.”
The Kraken are set for an NHL debut in 2021 and play in at Climate Pledge Arena, a new $930 million facility under construction at the site of the former KeyArena, where the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics played.
“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,” the Leiwekes said. “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.”
In summer 2019, Sounders FC added 11 new families to its ownership group. That included multiple current and former Microsoft executives like Terry Myerson and his wife Katie, as well as CEO Satya Nadella and wife Anu; singer Ciara and her husband, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson; rapper Macklemore and wife Tricia Davis.
Peter Tomozawa later joined as the team’s president of business operations as well as an owner along with his wife, Donna DeLuc.
Sounders FC currently sits atop of the Western Conference with nine games left in the pandemic-interrupted 2020 regular season.