Chris Coulter - Sounders Photos
When Don Ruiz (The News Tribune) and Joshua Mayers (Seattle Times) met with Joe Roth it was fairly clear that Roth wants Seahawks attendance, EPL level kits sponsorship and an increased profile for MLS.
These things are not surprises. Joe Roth has said for some time that he does not feel that the Sounders have a sell-out streak as long as tarps remain on the upper deck. He reiterated that to Ruiz and Mayers. It also is not news that the Seattle Sounders are looking to expand the revenue from their jersey sponsorship - they hired an agency to do just that. Maybe the most interesting thing that Roth said, as reported by Mayers,
You know they're talking about a second team in New York, right? So we're a ways away and have to build a stadium. They're probably going to build a stadium that's like the Red Bulls or Galaxy that's like 25- or 27,000. ... I wouldn't build a stadium less than 35. It's a clearly intimate experience and there are 35,000 people there.
Roth is kind of ambitious. It is rare when he talks, but when he does he makes statements that make waves. At the last End of Year Business Meeting there were times when he would interrupt, rather than just answering questions, making promises and declarations.
There is a drive. For 2012 he saw three regular season games with a crowd over 60,000. He doesn't think that is enough. Next year there will be at least four. He carries the impression that Microsoft is not bidding high enough considering the team's brand recognition and value. So he's looking other places. One of the businesses rumored to be interested is Emirates. They already participate in two of the ten largest deals in the sport.
Roth is bold. He does not mind competition. He clearly states that he believes the region should have the NBA back (Ruiz).;
... this city should have a basketball team. I was around when that thing went down. I don't think it was the NBA's finest hour.
Sounders fans have a reputation of being a little bit arrogant and having too much pride/verve/swagger about the massive crowds and business success that the club has.
If that reputation is true, it may just start right at the top with the majority owner. Because this team and league clearly aren't matching his goals - yet.