I know this is an opinion that is toxic to take BUT hear me out, the hire of Keith Costigan is actually a great hire for the club. I am unsure how he will be on TV, he might be perfect or horrible as an announcer but this hire is quite smart. Now before you take to me with pitchforks, let me take you through how I got this point.
Hearing the rumors and as it became increasingly clear that Costigan was going to be hired to be the announcer, I got pretty annoyed. I shared the same sentiments as everyone, how could we hire someone who admittedly supported our biggest rival. The question of whether he was a great announcer and how would he work with the community quickly followed as well but the more I sat with this and thought about, the more sense it seemed to make.
First, from a business perspective for the Sounders put themselves in a great position. Either A) KC will be a great broadcaster and will gel with the club and no one will think about his past. We'll all either eat crow or quietly delete old tweets and proclaim love for Keith. Or B) This will be a giant failure. The club will let him go and announce that it was a poor fit and that they will do better. In doing so, they'll give credence to the fans for their opinion as to why they are letting Costigan go. While we will all think "I told you so," the general sentiment being that it is a victory for the fans. The club can't lose on this because either they give the fans what they want or they picked the best candidate.
From a fan's side, this is a victory too. Obviously there was animosity between the club and Ross if they were not able to just sign an extension with ease and that part should not be overlooked. If the sides weren't a 100% committed to each other, we likely were going to see a falling off by one or the other. This could mean Ross not being involved with the club outside of broadcasts or the club choosing to use other people for events and move on from Ross. In either case, the fans would get screwed by it. The club is coming into this relationship saying, "this guy is good for TV, and that's really it."
Matt Johnson is being paraded as the community representative and one that I think is going to great for that position. The use of color analysts like Wade Webber, Kasey Keller, Pete Fewing, and Danny Jackson give a large group of voices that will contribute to the Sounders community and all have a background in it. As fans getting that group of voices (some of which are very deeply involved in coaching and working with players) will get a much better insight on what's going on and there's nothing better than that.
Yes, Costigan will not be the one involved and will be the main voice we hear on TV but why does he have to be the one that defines the community. The club has strongly hinted that the first choice would have been someone still doing TV and radio, meaning that splitting it and this solution was not choice one. Why this was the solution, we'll never know but what we do know is that we get great people surrounding someone who is still an average/above-average play-by-play announcer and will have a great support system and that system will make him successful.
Think of this like any risky developmental player signing, if the player succeeds then everyone knew he'd always be great and it was a brilliant move by the FO. If the player doesn't, we all knew it was going to be a failure and the FO needs to do better next time. An announcer is the same thing, he's bad until he's good and just like a player his team must support him. He'll have that. If he fails, feel free to call the FO out and when they cut him, they'll thank you for your opinion. But if he succeeds, just like that risky player, it'll be because the FO knew something we didn't about the future.
Let me be clear, I do not know if I love Keith Costigan taking over a mic. I do not know if after two games I'll wish I never wrote this and will call him out on Twitter. He may be a flop. He may be greater than Ross (never Arlo, I love Arlo too much), he may not. In any case, we will get what we want because either he becomes great or he gets canned and the club will listen to the criticism. In the meantime, just love Matt Johnson because he'll be the public face. His past work with the club has been good and he'll grow into his role and be great even if Costigan is not. I'm not saying do not be mad at the FO and turn a blind eye to things, there are plenty of reasons right now to be angry but this I don't think is one of them. Be mad about tickets. Be mad about prices. Be mad about how the situation was handled but don't be mad about Costigan because this could be great.