In addition to unveiling new kits and a big new sponsor in Microsoft, Seattle Reign FC announced a number of exciting changes to the matchday experience. The most important addition is a beer garden that will be similar to what fans experience at Starfire Stadium: outdoor and separate from the bleachers, but with a good view of the field.
The beer garden will be hosted by Georgetown Beer and Number 6 Cider. Fans have been hoping for a beer garden since the Reign moved to Memorial Stadium in 2014, but the fact that it was owned by Seattle Public Schools made the option difficult. Luckily, the Reign were able to find a compromise.
In addition to that exciting news, the Reign will roll out a number of new features for season ticket holders. Those with a season ticket will get their own entrance into the stadium, and they'll have a "fast pass" option to get into the BECU Fan Zone early to get player autographs after each home match. The overall ticketing system should improve as well, as the Reign will have more staff managing the ticket entrance this season.
On the broadcast end, the 2014 Seattle Reign FC commentators have returned. UW Women's Coach Lesle Gallimore and Tom Glasgow will be holding down the broadcast for the Reign stream. Bootstrapper Studios returns as the broadcast partner.
The Reign also shared additional news about its new academy system. The Seattle Reign Academy has been offered membership in the Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) beginning in November 2016. The ECNL is the top female youth club competition in the world, responsible for producing a large portion of U.S. Women's National Team players.
Seattle Reign Academy is the third club in Washington state to become an ECNL member, the others being Washington Premier and Crossfire Premier. Seattle Reign Academy staff will be conducting tryouts between May 2 to the 10.
"For the past three years Reign FC has demonstrated its commitment to world-class soccer with its NWSL side," said Tracey Kevins, newly appointed technical director of Seattle Reign Academy. "We are striving to create a similar environment for our Academy teams, preparing our players for college and the NWSL."
Today was quite the banner day for Seattle Reign FC fans. We now have new kits, new sponsors, and beer -- oh my!