Thursday December 7, 2023

Sounders Eye Leaving Lumen Field For Soccer-Specific Stadium

  • MLS club considers further development at forthcoming training complex
  • Franchise has been unqualified success since entry into the league
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders have been an unqualified success by any metric. The league’s winningest team since their arrival in 2009, the Sounders have won two MLS Cups and placed no lower than third in attendance in any season.

Now, they’re looking for a home stadium to match their reputation. 

Team president of business operations Hugh Weber told the independent Sounder At Heart outlet that the Sounders are considering leaving Lumen Field, the stadium they share with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, for their own facility.

“Lumen Field has been a great home, but having a soccer-centric stadium is always the dream of any premier MLS club,” Weber said. “It’s always something we’re contemplating and thinking about.”

The issue raises a complex dynamic for MLS and its individual clubs. League commissioner Don Garber has made showcasing the sport in dedicated facilities a hallmark of his tenure, and only seven MLS teams don’t play in soccer-specific stadiums — but they include the league’s top three attendance averages this season and its four largest seating capacities, including Seattle. 

The number of clubs without their own venues will continue to decrease with projects such as NYCFC’s forthcoming stadium in Queens. 

Suburban Complex

A new Sounders stadium would likely be situated in suburban Renton, Washington, where the club plans to open a new training facility next year. The 158-acre site, which was the former Longacres Racetrack and later a Boeing office park, will include four full-size practice fields and 50,000 square feet of office space.

“There’s definitely room on the site [for a stadium],” Weber said. “There’s a lot of exploration that has to happen in terms of is it even a thing our fanbase would consider a positive? I’d be remiss and not honest if I said we weren’t thinking about it and how we can solve for it.”

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