Peter McLoughlin, who has been the CEO of the St. Louis Blues of the NHL, will take over as the Seahawks and Sounders FC president, replacing Tod Leiweke.
RENTON — “Well, hello,” said Peter McLoughlin. “I’m really thrilled to be here.”
And with that Seattle met the Seahawks’ new president, and for the record, the last name is pronounced Mc-Lok-lin.
He grew up in Princeton, N.J., and attended Harvard. He worked six years at NBC Sports, 21 years at Anheuser-Busch, an industry pioneer in sports marketing, and since 2006 McLoughlin served as the St. Louis Blues’ CEO in the NHL.
He isn’t in charge of Seattle’s football team. Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider report directly to Seahawks owner Paul Allen. McLoughlin is in charge of the business end of this pro-football operation, everything from tickets to sponsorship to the fan experience.
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“Consider me a new member of the 12th Man,” said McLoughlin, 53. “I’m here to be a great fan of both teams and to work hard and serve the fans, to give back to the community, to help John and Pete and the Sounders to put championships in the Seattle community.”
McLoughlin is also the public face for one of the more private owners in the NFL. In that regard, he will follow the blueprint laid out by Tod Leiweke, who came to the Seahawks in 2003 and raised the franchise’s profile on a national level.
Leiweke is leaving the Seahawks to become the CEO and minority owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning. He led the search for a new executive and was on stage to introduce McLoughlin Thursday.
The Seahawks found Leiweke’s successor in the same place they found him: the NHL. Leiweke worked with the Minnesota Wild before coming to Seattle. The parallels don’t end there, said Bert Kolde of Vulcan Inc., vice chairman of the Seahawks board of directors.
“We saw a lot of things in the recruiting process that reminded us of Tod,” said Kolde.
The Seahawks’ circumstances have changed since Leiweke’s arrival seven years ago. Back in 2003, the season-ticket holders numbered less than 30,000 and the team failed to sell out its first home game that season.
The Seahawks have sold out every game since — 56 regular-season games and counting.
“Look at how the 12th Man has been reinvigorated,” Kolde said, “the growth of the fan base and how much more energized it is today. Tod made a big difference to the fan base. Peter can take that forward.”
McLoughlin won’t be signing players or managing the game. The franchise president doesn’t have the same day-to-day impact on the on-field product as a coach or even a general manager. McLoughlin does have jurisdiction over the annual budget for both the franchise and its football operations.
The hiring of McLoughlin completes an overhaul of the Seahawks franchise. A coach, general manager and president have all been hired within the past nine months.
For a team that is 9-23 over the previous two seasons, how does the board feel moving forward?
“We’re optimistic and excited,” Kolde said. “Others have touched on the chemistry, and I see the chemistry jell between John and coach Carroll and it has been a very strong and positive force, and now, I see the same kind of chemistry also with Peter, Pete and John.
“It’s just emerging and early, but I see the chance for an organization that can be even more unified with a higher level of chemistry and alignment going forward than we had at different points in time in the past few years.”
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org