OL Reign announced on Wednesday their permanent move from Cheney Stadium in Tacoma to Lumen Field in Seattle, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders. The move begins in the 2022 season, with a multi-year lease signed that makes Lumen home for the Reign for years to come.
You probably have questions about the move. We’ve got some answers — with more news and clarity around the move expected in the new year, which is just around the corner.
Wait, this is actually happening?!
YES! Can you freaking believe it? OL Reign will feature on the grandest stage at Lumen Field. For the entire season! Not just a game. Happy Holidays!
What will seating capacity look like?
OL Reign hope to fill 10,000 seats a match, and they will start by offering availability in the Lower Bowl only on the east and south side of the stadium — with the Supporters Section being behind the goal on the so-called Brougham End.
If the Reign start to see too much interest in tickets ... well, that would be a great problem. And they have flexibility in their lease to increase seating availability.
When did conversations with First & Goal begin?
They actually began all the way back in 2018, when OL Reign — then Seattle Reign FC — knew they’d have to leave Memorial Stadium. At the time, the cost to move to Lumen Field — then CenturyLink Field — was too much of a risk for the small ownership group to take on. Those financial risks haven’t changed. What did change? The ownership group. This is yet another example of OL Groupe stepping in as owners — they have more financial flexibility and more of a willingness to take on riskier financial opportunities.
“This is really a huge investment from OL that I hope they get credit for,” said OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore. “In the decision to sell to OL, this is what we hoped would happen — we would have somebody with the financial capacity to make decisions like this that we think are great investments for the future of the club.”
“Coupling the club’s historic DNA with the support that OL provides has resulted in something magical,” said OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey. “I am so happy for the players that they’ll finally have the chance to show the city what they can do in a stadium worthy of their talents.”
How much of a role did the doubleheader play in the decision?
Conversations had already progressed at that point, but the success of the doubleheader — and the players’ reaction to it — reinforced to Predmore this was the right decision.
“We have felt for a long time — and probably everybody would agree with this — that we have had from the beginning world-class players. And I always felt like we were letting them down by, you know, playing in a stadium that was the best we could do at the time, but it wasn’t equal to their talents,” Predmore shared with Ride of the Valkyries. “So I’m really happy more than anything for the players that they’re going to be able to have this experience.”
Could we see another doubleheader in 2022?
It’s possible! Nothing is confirmed at this point, but both sides agree that while it was a ton of work, the result was amazing. And it will be a lot easier to coordinate with both clubs now playing full-time at the same location.
Will OL Reign games be scheduled next to Sounders games?
In short, most likely — especially when the Seahawks begin playing. And by scheduled “next to” Sounders games, that means within a day or two — not on the same day. It takes a lot of work to turn the field over from football to soccer pitch and back, so the schedulers will want to make sure they don’t have to flip it three times. The MLS schedule comes out first, with the NWSL schedule likely not getting finalized until February or March of 2022. Where possible, the NWSL will try to schedule Reign games around home Sounders matches.
“Generally speaking, I would expect that if the Sounders play Saturday, we’re playing Sunday. They play Sunday, we’ll play Saturday. Maybe there’s a Friday thrown in there. We’ll have a few midweek games, but you can generally expect to see them grouped together,” Predmore confirmed.
What sort of concessions and amenities will be available?
Although details aren’t yet available, a variety of food and drink options should be available to fans throughout the east concourse of the stadium. First and Goal representatives said they are committed to having a diverse range of food choices for fans, along with the wide variety of food and beverage establishments nearby in the International District and Pioneer Square.
Could we see women’s international games come to Seattle now?
Not in 2022, but hopefully in the future. The U.S. women’s national team is trying to play all their games on grass, so Lumen Field is probably not an option for a national team game at the moment. However, OL Reign’s sister club Lyon often comes to the U.S. in the summer for the Women’s International Champions Cup (ICC). This year, the ICC was hosted in Portland. Lumen Field could be a fantastic host in 2023...
Where will OL Reign train?
OL Reign will continue to train in Tacoma for the 2022 season — likely at Bellarmine Prep again. In the meantime, the team continues to look for a long-term home for operations and training. Predmore confirmed that it would likely be a 24-month process to finalize a permanent training home.
Could the Reign pair up with the Sounders in the future on a training facility?
Anything is possible, although OL Reign haven’t been in active conversations with the Sounders about that opportunity. If the Sounders reached out as their future training plans unfold, Predmore confirmed that the club would be happy to talk.
What happened to the Tacoma Stadium project?
While the pandemic put a hold on Tacoma’s stadium plans, it was still OL Reign’s first choice after the city welcomed them with open arms in 2019. OL Reign joined the Sounders and Tacoma Rainiers earlier this year in exploring a new feasibility study for the stadium. This time, the study looked at building a 10,000-seat stadium on the property near Cheney Stadium — since the Reign had shown a need something larger than the originally proposed 6,500 capacity venue.
While the feasibility study determined that it’s logistically possible to build a larger stadium in the proposed location, the cost (estimated at about $150 million) and timeline for opening were prohibitive. Lumen Field ended up being the better option. On top of that, OL Reign were only able to join Tacoma stadium project conversations this summer. Before that, they were considered a tenant for the joint Sounders-Rainiers project. To go from a costly project that might work to completion is still a long timeline — a wait that felt too long for OL Reign leadership when Lumen was on the table. Climate Pledge Arena, for example, took nearly three years to renovate and rebuild.
“Given the results of the revised feasibility study from both a cost and timing perspective, it became clear that developing a 10,000-seat stadium in Tacoma was not a viable option at this time,” the club stated in a press release.
“We are grateful for the support of the community in Tacoma, and especially for the efforts of all the individuals and organizations who worked so hard on the new stadium project,” said Predmore. “In particular, the support of Mayor Woodards — who from the start was our biggest fan in Tacoma — will always be appreciated by our organization.”
What’s going to happen to the partnership with Black Future Co-Op Fund?
Both OL Reign and the Black Future Co-op Fund have been thrilled with the success of their partnership to date. While the front-of-kit sponsorship was only intended as a one-year project and is not likely to continue next year, the club has reiterated that they are committed promoting the Fund and centering their efforts on a long-term basis.
So, is Lumen just a placeholder for a move to another location, like the new Memorial Stadium?
Lumen Field is OL Reign’s home now, and something they hope will work out long-term. As for Memorial’s future? In October, the city of Seattle signed a letter of intent to make the Memorial Stadium rebuild part of a property tax levy, which will be on the ballot for voters in February 2022. If passed, the design, cost, and a timeline would be determined through a planning process that would include the public and stakeholders. That puts any potential rebuild years out. And I’m not sure the Reign would be able to solve the no-beer restrictions on Seattle Public Schools property in their second go-around. Again, the Reign don’t feel like they have time to wait when Lumen Field is a much better option for them right now.
Can I buy season tickets yet?
You can! Head to olreign.com/tickets or call (866) 997-3446 to secure your seats. Ticket prices start at just $15 per match.
Does this mean I can buy OL Reign merch at the Pro Shop?
Yes! While the details aren’t finalized quite yet, OL Reign gear should be available in 2022 at the Lumen Field Pro Shop. How amazing is that?!
Does this mean OL Reign will go back to being called Seattle Reign?
Not likely. The brands — OL and the Reign — have been connected now for two years, and we are starting to see real results from that partnership. Even though the team plays in Seattle now, they are still part of the OL network. The logo and city name isn’t returning, but Seattle is once again home.