While it was not quite the load the moving vans in the dead of night and bolt to Tacoma, yesterdays announced move of the Seattle Reign FC to Tacoma and the name change of the Sounders S2 to Tacoma Defiance was made official with velocity.
Given the vision of the business, entities involved the move makes business sense on and off the field. The Tacoma Defiance formerly known as S2 will start their second season in Cheney Stadium with a new jersey sponsor and the promise of a soccer-specific 5,000 grass stadium. Tacoma-based MultiCare Health System will be the jersey sponsor for the Tacoma Defiance squad and in the move from Memorial Stadium to Tacoma, Seattle Reign FC dropped the Seattle moniker from its name is now Reign FC.
There is no doubt Wednesday’s joint announcement marked a tremendous athletic and civic coup for the City of Tacoma and Mayor Victoria Woodards.
“I am delighted to be here this afternoon and delighted to join all of you. It’s my privilege to announce today that here in the great city of Tacoma, at Cheney Stadium, it will now be the new home for the Reign FC. In a few minutes, they will be formally known as ReignFC, and not Seattle Reign FC. Can you believe that right here in Tacoma, we’re getting a professional women’s soccer team.
I want to take this moment to thank Rainiers Majority Owner Mykal Thomson, Aaron Artman, the full owner of the Rainiers, and the Reign FCowners, Bill and Theresa Predmore, for choosing Tacoma and Cheney Stadium, and for caring so deeply about women’s professional sports. Eventually, we will be playing in the new soccer stadium we will be building in partnership with the Sounders, the Rainiers, and Metro Parks.
The original partnership between the Sounders and the Tacoma Rainiers was announced in 2017 and Wednesdays announcement completes the unique partnership. The Tacoma Rainiers are an award-winning franchise that has been a staple of the South Sound community for over 50 years, operating as the top affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners.
The Rainiers have been operating the business side of the new era of the USL club, taking advantage of the decades of experience managing a professional organization in the Tacoma market while Sounders FC maintains leadership over soccer operation and the sporting infrastructure
For Tacoma Rainiers Chairman & CEO Mikal Thomsen the addition of the Reign FC and Tacoma Defiance gives the city of Tacoma an opportunity to create a new identity while honoring the regions past and way of life.
“As someone who grew up here, I know what it means to embrace the defiant mindset of being from Tacoma,” said Thomsen. “People from this town form their own opinions and make their own way in life. They are hardworking, and most of all, they are proud to be from Tacoma. In Tacoma Defiance, we hope that we have created a team identity that this community can rally around for generations to come.”
Along with the physical move and new jersey sponsorships several ownership opportunities arose between the Tacoma Defiance, Tacoma Rainiers and FC Reign. The group operating the Rainiers and Tacoma Defiance led by Mikal Thomsen, Chairman and CEO will be taking a significant minority ownership stake in Reign FC. In addition, Adrian Hanauer and his mother, Lenore Hanauer, are also making a separate minority investment in Reign FC.
“Adrian and Lenore have both been supportive of our club since its inception, so we are excited to welcome them to the Reign FC ownership group,” said Bill Predmore Reign FC Owner. “The renewed strength of the ownership group will provide long-term stability, support and strategic leadership that will ensure that Reign FC is able to achieve success both on and off the pitch.”
NEW SOCCER STADIUM FACTS
- In Tacoma Defiance and Reign FC, the proposed building is poised to house professional sides in both men’s and women’s soccer, bringing affordable and family-friendly entertainment to Central Tacoma, while simultaneously driving civic pride surrounding both professional teams.
- The new stadium will also provide the opportunity to build a best-in-class facility that will allow Tacoma to compete for additional regional and national events, in addition to conferences with associated tourism dollars.
- This building positions Tacoma as a market to attract additional sports franchises and / or bid as a host on other sporting events, including professional rugby and lacrosse, international soccer friendlies, NCAA championships and special events.
- MultiCare is set to feature prominently as part of the new soccer-specific stadium in the years to come. With this partnership, the Tacoma-based healthcare organization is committed to operating a 60,000 square-foot space inside the new facility with a range of medical services that will be used by the team and the public.
- Youth and high school athletes would also have access to the stadium.