Another familiar face is joining the seemingly ever-expanding Seattle Sounders ownership group. Continuing the recent tradition of bringing in families as opposed to just individuals, Tod Leiweke and his wife Tara Leiweke were announced as the latest addition.
In addition to reuniting the Sounders with one of the earliest architects of their move to MLS — Leiweke was the team’s original CEO while also serving in that role with the Seahawks — it also deepens ties with the Seattle Kraken. Leiweke currently serves as the the NHL team’s president and CEO.
“When Tod and Tara returned to Seattle two years ago to lead the Kraken, I was thrilled on a professional level to have Tod back in the Seattle sports scene, but also, more personally, to welcome back some of the finest, most caring and genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know,” Sounders Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer said in a press release. “Given Tod’s history with the club, I couldn’t have been more enthusiastic when the Leiwekes expressed interest in re-involving themselves with Sounders FC on a deeper level.”
The Leiwekes apparently joined the ownership group earlier this year, but the announcement was delayed due to the global pandemic and general unrest.
“Our friendship with Adrian dates back to a time when the idea of launching Sounders FC in Major League Soccer was just beginning,” the Leiwekes said in a statement. “The launch of the club was a truly special moment in our lives, and seeing the organization thrive from the very beginning is something we take a lot of pride in. In our time away from Seattle, we always followed this great club, and to be able to return to it now is significant for us.
Since leaving the Seahawks organization in 2010, Leiweke moved to the Tampa Bay Lightning until 2015 before joining the NFL as Chief Operating Officer and then heading back to Seattle to help launch the Kraken in 2018.
The Leiwekes are the 13th family to join the Sounders ownership group since Roth sold his shares last year. This sale was apparently part of that divestment, meaning none of the existing shares were diluted or changed. Among the families who previously bought in were Russ Wilson and Ciara; Macklemore; Microsoft executive Terry Myerson; and Peter Tomozawa, who also serves president of business operations.