Tod Leiweke is headed back to Seattle.
The veteran sports executive will be officially announced as the CEO and president of Seattle’s NHL ownership group on Wednesday. Leiweke was most recently chief operating officer at the NFL and was the Seahawks CEO from 2003 to 2010.
He’ll make a return to the Emerald City to join his brother, Tim Leiweke, who heads up Oak View Group, the ownership firm trying to bring an NHL expansion team to the Seattle.
Update: Here’s a statement from Leiweke:
“It’s an honor and privilege for me and my family to return to Seattle, and I thank David [Bonderman] and Jerry [Bruckheimer] for making this homecoming possible, and also my brother, Tim [Leiweke]. I thank Roger Goodell for the privilege of serving him and the NFL the past three seasons in New York. And I also want to thank Paul Allen. Paul gave me and my family our original opportunity 15 years ago to make Seattle our home when I joined his Seahawks organization. Seattle is where our children grew up, and it has always held a very near and dear place in our hearts. Now I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start an NHL hockey team from inception in a state-of-the-art, newly renovated arena. As a lifelong hockey fan, I pledge to our fans to make this franchise great both on and off the ice, with an organization that will give back to the community while pursuing the ultimate goal of bringing a Stanley Cup back to Seattle. I look forward to working with our co-tenant, the winning WNBA Storm. And on behalf of the NHL ownership group, we’ll stay similarly focused and committed to the return of the NBA should that opportunity arise.”
Leiweke, who also spent three years as CEO of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning before taking the NFL gig, spoke at our GeekWire Sports Tech Summit this past summer and talked about everything from the league’s streaming deal with Amazon to declining TV ratings. Leiweke also called Seattle “an amazing place in sports.”
“Tod Leiweke stands alone in our city’s sports history, which is littered with showmen, carpetbaggers and cheapskates,” wrote 710 ESPN’s Danny O’Neil last month. “He is quite simply the most successful sports executive that this city has ever known.”
Oak View Group kicked off a season ticket drive last month that racked up 33,000 deposits. The ownership group, which also includes David Bonderman and Jerry Bruckheimer, is aiming to renovate KeyArena and secure an expansion team for the 2020-21 season.