New Seattle women’s pro team owner talks league ambitions, Sounders Women

Meg Linehan August 9, 2012 16

With the news early Thursday morning that a new women’s professional soccer league will begin in 2013, one of the more surprising pieces of information revealed in the press release was that there would in fact be a team in Seattle, but not the Seattle Sounders Women. Bill Predmore, the President of POP Agency in Seattle, is the lead owner of a new women’s team that was announced as one of the founding teams.

Predmore acknowledged that details are currently scant due to still ongoing organizational efforts, but he was able to shed some additional light on the new Seattle team. The Sounders Women declined to comment last night on their involvement, but Predmore stated that outreach has happened and a working relationship is not off the table entirely.

“We had a lot of respect for what the Sounders did this year,” he said. “They were a dream team in terms of the team they put together. I have talked to them on if there’s a way we can work together on things, but the result of that is still to be determined. We’re talking with all interested parties.”

Currently Predmore is the sole owner of the new Seattle team, although he expects to have others join the ownership team. If there are no interested parties, however, he is committed regardless. The team itself is still in the beginning stages, although conversations have been held concerning a general manager and other leadership. Predmore expects to start making announcements on that front “in the next few weeks.”

The ghosts of leagues past don’t have Predmore worried about the future of women’s soccer.

“I’ve certainly heard the stories of some of the challenges that have happened in the past,” he said. “This will start on a smaller scale than what we’ve seen in the past. I think this idea of sustainability is very important. All the games have to be run like businesses and ideally should have some hope, at least, of breaking even. Being fiscally responsibly is going to be a hallmark of this new league, and it’s going to be the way we’re going to run our club.”

Predmore also stressed that the new league will be thoughtful during its construction. Expectations will be smaller and more realistic. With the future of the U.S. national team players still up in the air and the subject of much discussion this week, the announcement of the new league comes at a time intended to be reassuring right before the gold medal match. In terms of outreach to the current national team players, Predmore’s understanding is that “that process is happening as we speak. And not just the national team players, but letting all the players know that we have a league up in the spring of 2013.”

The name of the new league is still a work in progress. Predmore’s agency, POP, is working on the naming and branding of the new league, but there was no expected date for this information to be announced. He did stress that “the brand is something of tremendous importance, so we’re going to take our time with it and [make] sure we get it right.”

Finally, Predmore discussed the broader timelines of the league formation. While there are no concrete dates for announcements as of yet, he guessed it might be a few more weeks until the management of the new league is ready to release additional details. After the lines of communication have been opened by the new league, further announcements could be “fast and furious.” Predmore promised that “everyone wants to move aggressively on this. We know time is of the essence.”

  • http://twitter.com/Deegley Diane (DeeG)

    Have to admit I’m pretty psyched about comments regarding sustainability, caution and ‘get it right’ attitude. Third time’s the charm? I hope so!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevinwparker Kevin W. Parker

    Great that they’re going to try again so soon – and with realistic objectives. Women’s soccer seems to be riding a high right now, hope they can turn that into a successful league.

  • Terrylash

    One of the cost drivers is long trips.  If the new league has only 4 eastern and 4 western teams, for instance, travel costs will be high for teams.  It will be interesting to see how the new league deals with this issue.  I certainly hope owners have an approach to team costs that will work.

  • Mathew Thenor Louis

    I think the legue will be 
    – Boston Breakers
    – Chicago Red Stars
    – Sky Blue FC
    – Seattle
    – New York 
    – Bay Area
    – New England
    – Los Angeles

    All assuming that the WNY Flash and Philly Independence dont join. Along with W-League teams, but the league did say a MINIMUM OF 8 so more could join expecting a maximum 10-12.

  • Mathew Thenor Louis

    ee

  • Rachel

    Hey Matt, you forgot magicJack

    • Mathew Thenor Louis

      don’t think they will be returning. 

      • Terrylash

        Rachel, I believe was making a sarcastic comment (I hope).

        • Mathew Thenor Louis

          I know so was I 

    • Mathew Thenor Louis

      Sounders women are not part of the sounders organization anymore.

  • Robert Lee

    With the groundwork laid by the Sounders Women, and the ready made fan base, how is this not the team to join the new league? Might there be a merger in the works, retaining the successful brand? 
    Of course, a roster containing 4 USWNT players might be spendy in a real pro league

    • Mathew Thenor Louis

      Sounders women are not part of the sounders organization anymore.

      • http://www.sounderatheart.com/ Sidereal

        Regardless of the ownership status, there’s a very close working relationship, including the fact that Amy Carnell is both GM of the Women and Camp Director for the Sounders.  There are coordinated marketing efforts.  And of course the brand was brought much closer this season with not just the name but the kits, sponsorship, and logo.   That’s all a huge advantage to the Sounders Women that another team in the area wouldn’t get.  

  • AgentJ

    Have a hard time imagining a non-Sounders team being successful in Seattle. 

    • Mathew Thenor Louis

      Sounders women are not part of the sounders organization anymore.

  • http://www.sounderatheart.com/ sidereal

    If the rumors of only 2 west coast teams are true, I have a hard time seeing a financially sustainable model that involves traveling to the East Coast 10 times a season.  A pro league that wants teams in the west is going to have to have enough teams in the west for their own division and an unbalanced schedule that limits the cross country travel.