Sounders Insider

Hanauer talks about Sounders' stadium lease

Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer has added a few details about the Sounders' new lease with CenturyLink Field.

Perhaps of most interest to Sounders fans is the lease mandate that the turf be replaced after no more than four seasons of use, with an option for more regularly.

"A minimum of every four years – so after four seasons," Hanauer said. "The first replacement being before the Sounders’ next season. That could be more often depending on conversations between the Sounders and the Seahawks. So if the Seahawks sporting group and the Sounders sporting group decide to replace the turf earlier, that could be a decision that’s made as well.

"The other piece to that is we have a commitment from the Seahawks and have sort of recommitted ourselves to continuing to search for new technologies, better systems of maintenance and repair, and doing as many things as possible to make sure that the turf we do have is optimal for soccer when we’re playing games."

On if the Sounders' hoped to negotiation more frequent replacement: "Yes. You get some things and you give some things in every negotiation and I’m sure there were some things that the Seahawks would have wanted that they didn’t get and there were some things that we wanted that we didn’t get, but hopefully it was a fair negotiation and a fair settlement. Like we said, we’d like to be playing on grass, but that’s not a reality. We’d like to be playing on turf that’s replaced as often as possible, and the place that we landed was every four years at a minimum."

On if the new turf with automatically be FieldTurf: I don’t think that it’s a foregone conclusion that it will be FieldTurf, but FieldTurf has been a very good partner and has led to a lot of championships for both teams. I would think that they have the inside track, but that will be a negotiation and a process that we’ll go through for each changeover. Somebody may develop a new technology that’s even more attractive.

On the length of the lease: 2028 does seem like a long time … but realistically not that much time in the context of generations of sports franchises. … You and I may be sitting on the porch rocking chair, but at some point, 2028 will be coming up pretty soon. Obviously for the time being we think CenturyLink has been a fantastic home for us and will be a fantastic home for us. We think we still have opportunities to grow as a fan base. And although there have been lots of conversations our in the public and message boards, and certainly there have been conversations internally about whether a soccer-specific stadium would have made sense back when we were starting the franchise, the idea that we would have maybe build a 20,000-seat stadium out in the suburbs today just seems like such a crazy idea that I’m very confident that being downtown in CenturyLink was a good decision back then and still is.

On any other stadium issues on improvements that fans will notice: Nothing that the fans should notice significantly. There is a piece of the document that contemplates and defines the scheduling process. It’s a little too complicated to give you all of the specific because it involved the Mariners and the dual-use agreement. Our league (schedule) is longer now than it was, but that’s the other piece of it. We understand that we’re in a multiuse building, but we wanted the change to get the best dates that we’re looking for for our home games.

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