Back when Seattle Sounders made the leap from USL to MLS the head of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment was Tod Leiweke. He headed the relationship between the Seattle Seahawks and the new team that shattered all expectations as to what a soccer business in America could be. Leiweke left Vulcan for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010. His successes across the NFL, NHL, MLS and NBA (Trailblazers) now earned him the position as Chief Operating Officer of the National Football League.
It's a huge step for one of the great local sports execs in Seattle history. Leiweke even used his connections with the Puget Sound area to help Tampa is some non-sports development. From the Lightning press release;
Leiweke has also been involved in the emergence of downtown Tampa's south core with Strategic Property Partners, LLC, a development company controlled by Vinik [Lightning Chairman] and Kirkland, Washington's Cascade Investment, LLC.
While the Sounders may be a small bullet point on Leiweke's resume, that also includes the Minnesota Wild, it is also significant. The original ticket estimation for the Sounders was in the low 20s. By the time he left as head of the organization that club had ballooned to 36,174. Teams around the world contacted the Sounders to learn how to emulate their business practices.