Major League Soccer franchise the Seattle Sounders has reached a deal with Class AAA baseball team the Tacoma Rainiers to build a new stadium to host its United Soccer League team, Sounders 2.
The 5,000-seat proposed venue in Tacoma would be soccer-specific, with the Sounders handling the sporting operations, while the Rainiers deal with the business side of the team. The baseball franchise would also rebrand the team under a Tacoma-specific name.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the clubs looks to construct the venue in time for the 2020 season. The venue would be on city-owned land adjacent to Cheney Stadium, home of the Rainiers.
Sounders 2, the USL affiliate club, currently plays at the StarFire Sports Complex (pictured) in Tukwila.
Aaron Artman, Rainiers president, said it is not known what the full stadium cost or financing would be, though the involvement of city land means some type of “public-private partnership” will likely take place, according to the Seattle Times newspaper.
Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer said in an ESPN broadcast: “We want to continue to invest, build the infrastructure and continue to develop the games.
“Beyond the player development side, which is obviously a very important part of the puzzle, Tacoma is the third-biggest city in Washington State. There’s a lot of Sounders fans down there and potential for a lot more. We think if we continue to grow the game anywhere in this state, it leads to more Sounders fans and we want to sell [CenturyLink Field] out some day.”
The Rainiers just completed a two-year business arrangement through which it did marketing and branding for the Tacoma Stars indoor soccer team.
“We think we have a pretty good handle on how to operate a soccer franchise in this market,’’ Artman said.