Seattle Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer confirmed today that for the third time in club history, there will be NFL lines on the team’s MLS pitch when they meet the Los Angeles Galaxy Sunday at CenturyLink Field. He said there was no way around it, given the conversion time for the Seattle Seahawks home game against the Detroit Lions the next night.
Here’s some of what Hanauer had to say:
“Obviously our goal always to provide a clean field always for our soccer fans. Since it is a football/soccer stadium, luckily we’ve only had football lines a couple of times in the past, but Sunday we will have some football lines. They’ll be less than at certain times in the past. … It will be a little bit less than a full football field full of lines, but there will be some. We work really hard on scheduling with the Seahawks to make this minimal, to try and avoid these situations, but the reality is we do play two sports there and we’ve sort of created a situation where we have I think 18 to 20 hours to deliver a clean field and it wasn’t going to be possible.
“Obviously we knew about this conflict pretty early on. We talked to the league very early on and suggested that maybe we could move this game to a Saturday or a Friday night to keep the field clean. It’s a fantastic, great television opportunity with a great partner and they were anxious to keep that game in it’s national TV window, so that sort of checked off the list early in terms of solutions. The only other thing I’ll add is we ask a decent amount of the Seahawks. They’ve clearned our MLS Cup Sunday. Now we have decision day we’ve added into the mix where we need to keep that window for a Sunday game. When we start with the Mariners doing there schedule and we layer in the Sounders and Seahawks, there just are going to be some comflicts.
“We think that we can get better and better doing these transitions. My personal goal – it will take innovation and technology and a ton of hard work – but at some point I’d like to get to the point where we could actually play a game on a Saturday evening and play a Seahawks game on a Sunday afternoon with pure soccer lines on a Saturday night and NFL lines on a Sunday. It’s possible. It’s going to take work and good, creative problem-solving together, but that’s kind of my objective working with the Seahawks to get there.
“That said we’re excited for Sunday. We’ll have 55,000-plus fans in the building. Great leadup to the game with the Hall of Fame inductions. We have a bunch of other cool suprises and events for fans. Obviously the Halo launch, giving away 20,000 T-shirts. It’s going to be a great day, so we’re exciting and looking forward to a massive game on Sunday.
More on cutting the conversion time: We’re making progress, gaining confidence. We’re going to do some testing in the offseason. The only thing that I didn’t mention was working with our league and the Seahawks we’ve come up with what we think is a kind of creative win-win solution on playoffs. We did that Monday night game a couple of years back. Fans liked it. It was a great solution for keeping the field clean. The national TV partners liked it. So that’s the kind of solutions we can come up with to eliminate what might have been a field complex in the past. So things have gotten better and I think that technology over time and again a good partnership will improve things.