Just a few weeks after Garth Lagerwey stepped down as head of the sporting side of the organization, the Seattle Sounders are about to undergo an equally big change on the business side. Sounder at Heart has confirmed with multiple sources that Peter Tomozawa has relinquished his role as the club’s President of Business Operations in order to focus on leading Seattle’s preparations for hosting World Cup matches in 2026. The position is believed to be interim, at least until he can be formally approved. In his place, the Sounders have hired Hugh Weber.
Weber comes to the Sounders with an impressive resume and strong local ties, a seeming requirement for most high-level hires under Adrian Hanauer’s leadership. Up until last summer, he served as the president of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment for the last three years. In that role, he oversaw the company that owns the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, NHL’s New Jersey Devils, and English Premier League’s Crystal Palace, as well as several other professional sports teams. Weber was promoted from the Devils role which he held for six seasons.
Prior to joining HBSE, Weber was president of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. Weber is from Tacoma, attended college and ran track at Tacoma’s University of Puget Sound, and is believed to have a longstanding relationship with Sounders majority owner Hanauer.
Although Weber has apparently started meeting Sounders employees, his hiring may not be publicly announced until after the holidays.
When Weber first started at HBSE, he was originally in charge of just the Devils and the Prudential Center, where they played. In 2019 he was promoted to president, where he then also oversaw the 76ers and Crystal Palace. The Sounders had apparently considered hiring Weber to serve as their president before he got that promotion.
Like seemingly every other move the Sounders make, this one also has a Real Salt Lake connection. David Blitzer — who co-owns HBSE — partnered with Ryan Smith to buy RSL in January. HBSE was not directly part of that purchase, however, and it’s unclear if Weber was involved at all.
Tomozawa served as the Sounders’ first President of Business, taking the position in 2019 at the same time he became a minority owner. Tomozawa’s connection to the Sounders dates back to 2014, when he moved his family to the area from Hawaii so his son could play for the academy. He will retain his minority ownership stake and will likely remain involved with the club. Focusing his attention on preparing Seattle for the World Cup does make some sense, though. Tomozawa was a significant part of the successful effort to bring games to Seattle, but Sea2026 will need more day-to-day management as the tournament gets closer.