If you were anywhere near social media on Wednesday, you're probably aware that S2 decided not to stream their US Open Cup match against the Kitsap Pumas. Even after S2 pulled out a 4-2 extra time win -- despite blowing a 2-0 lead -- most of the talk afterward was not about the excitement on the field, but the fact that no one who wasn't there was able to watch it.
This is not the first time the Sounders organization has chosen not to stream a match, but making games available online has become the norm, at least since 2010. Fan reaction was swift and mostly unbending. Emerald City Supporters -- the team's largest supporters' group -- even went as far as opting not to buy group tickets, instead serving as a marketplace to help season ticket holders redistribute unused tickets. Shawn Wheeler explained the reasoning here.
Although their initial explanation was tone deaf and, frankly, absurd, the Sounders received the message fans were clearly sending and are moving forward in the most logical and satisfying way possible: By admitting their error and promising to stream future Open Cup matches, including next Wednesday's against Timbers 2.
"Screw up. My decision. Every decision we make is sort of a financial calculation: How much does this cost, what are the benefits? We didn't broadcast or live stream the Xolos game: It seemed to go fine. I think sort of maybe reflective of that decided on this Open Cup game maybe not to spend the money, because it's not insignificant to do a quality stream. In retrospect, we heard people loud and clear that they would have liked to have that game on, and probably should have done it. So we will going forward: Problem solved."
If anything, it would appear the Sounders merely underestimated the interest people had in this game. While ticket sales were not especially strong -- attendance was announced as 1,750 and S2 is averaging fewer than 2,400 per regular-season game -- Sounders fans are still quite interested in their USL affiliate's fortunes. They may not be willing to trek out to Tukwila on a Wednesday, but they would happily camp out in front of their computer for a couple hours.
Either way, it's good to see the Sounders listening to their fans, who in this case are also part owners of the club. Hopefully, there's a lesson here that stretches beyond this incident.