Contrary to a recent report in Forbes, no portion of the Seattle Sounders has recently been sold but could soon be, Sounder at Heart has learned. Reached for comment, the Sounders broadly called the details of the report “incorrect” but did hint that some negotiations for a sale are likely ongoing:
“Seattle Sounders FC is aware of the media report about a potential limited partnership sale in the club,” the statement read. “While the details in this report are incorrect, our organization has thoughtfully added limited partners over the past several years as our ownership group has grown. Further growth and diversification of the club’s ownership group remains an option for the future. As always, Sounders FC will only announce potential ownership transactions once all details have been finalized and are ready for public disclosure. We have nothing further to add at this time.”
The one element of the story that was probably most accurate is the valuation of a minority stake in the club being pegged around $680 million. Sportico last year estimated that the Sounders were the fourth most valuable team in MLS at $705 million.
It’s unlikely that Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer is exploring the possibility of selling a minority stake. Hanauer has been a key component of the Sounders ownership group for more than two decades and only seems to be increasing his investment as the team prepares for its 50th anniversary celebration and the opening of their training facility at Longacres in 2024. Which of the dozen or so minority owners in the Sounders might be exploring a sale is not yet known, either, although a source did specifically push back on the idea that it is Russell Wilson. It has been widely speculated that Wilson would be an obvious candidate to sell his stake after he was traded to the Denver Broncos. It should also be noted that Paul Allen’s estate reportedly owns 25% of the Sounders, a much larger portion than is apparently being shopped.
The identity of the prospective buyer would be even more speculative, but there is likely no shortage of rich people who would jump at the opportunity.