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Microsoft vets, Ciara, and Macklemore team up to own Seattle Sounders soccer club

Seattle Sounders FC is getting a lot of new owners today as part of a joint ownership group spearheaded by former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson. Eleven families with connections to the Seattle area have teamed up to form a new ownership group for the Sounders soccer club, and they include some big names. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and his wife Anu Nadella are part of the ownership group, alongside Joe Belfiore, CVP of experiences and devices at Microsoft, and his wife Kristina Belfiore. Seattle-born rapper Macklemore and his wife Tricia Davis are also joining the group. Here’s the full list:

  • Former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson and wife Katie Myerson
  • Popstar Ciara and her husband Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback
  • Hip-hop artist Macklemore and wife Tricia Davis
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and wife Anu Nadella
  • Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore and wife Kristina Belfiore
  • Microsoft CFO Amy Hood and husband Max Kleinman
  • Former Microsoft executive Soma Somasegar and wife Akila Somasegar
  • Twilio chief product officer Chee Chew and wife Christine Chew, former Microsoft program manager
  • Former Fox Sports executive David Nathanson and wife Sabina Nathanson
  • Former Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews and wife Elise Holschuh
  • Softbank managing partner Mark Agne and wife Tomoko Agne

After departing as Microsoft’s Windows chief last summer, Myerson has been instrumental in bringing together these families and pushing through the change in ownership. Myerson was interested after Joe Roth, the founding partner of Sounders FC, decided to sell his equity in the club last year. A Californian-based investment group had been eyeing Roth’s share to try to take control of the team. “I quickly realized the value of Joe’s equity – and that I could not do this alone,” explains Myerson in a detailed blog post recounting the deal. “I would need to find a group of like-minded people, who were willing to invest in the Sounders as a pillar of the Seattle community, and were willing to make the bet that soccer would grow in popularity along with me.”

Nadella was the first person Myerson emailed about the opportunity to save the Sounders ownership and keep the team ownership in Seattle. Nadella and Microsoft CFO Amy Hood quickly signed up to help, alongside Joe Belfiore and former Microsoft program manager Christine Chew.

Myerson is now a partner at venture capital firm Madrona. Through a series of connections, he was even able to convince Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to get involved in the ownership group. That led to Macklemore hearing about the group and helping retain Seattle-based ownership of the Sounders.

The change in ownership eventually closed on July 31st, approximately 15 months after Myerson first started discussions. Around 31 people or organizations were involved in the deal, and Adrian Hanauer, Drew Carey, and Jody Allen will all continue their committed tenures with Sounders FC. The Seattle-based soccer club isn’t revealing how much the ownership group invested to make the deal happen.

Nadella will now join former CEO Steve Ballmer in owning part of a sports team. Ballmer purchased the LA Clippers five years ago for $2 billion, and he was super hyped to welcome Kawhi Leonard recently, the NBA’s most sought-after player. The Seattle Seahawks is now owned by the Paul Allen Trust after the Microsoft co-founder died last year.


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