What do sports and earthquakes have in common?
If you answered, “the Seattle Seahawks fan base,” you are correct.
On Dec. 2, 2013, the spectators in attendance at the Seahawks game at Lumen Field in Seattle set a Guinness World Record for crowd noise when they combined their voices to reach 137.6 decibels and cause a minor earthquake in northwestern Washington.
Seismologists recorded the quake as registering between a magnitude one and two on the Richter Scale. The deafening noise created by “The Seahawks’ 12th Man” helped propel the National Football League team to a 34-7 win that day.
Sports fans in Washington are well known for their enthusiasm, team spirit and loyalty. Whether it’s the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball, the Seahawks of the NFL, the University of Washington Huskies, the Washington State University Cougars, the Seattle Storm of the WNBA, or the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer, the legions of loyalists have a reputation for intimidating the road teams and carrying the homes teams onto victory.
No one knows this better than the players and coaches of the Sounders, winners of MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019, winners of the MLS Supporters Shield trophy for most points in the league in 2014, and victors in the U.S. Open Cup competition in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014.
The Sounders were the first MLS club to regularly attract stadium-packing crowds in excess of 40,000 fans per game, and they were the first MLS team to propel soccer as a sport to first-tier status in their home state.
Now, those same Washington sports fans have another new team to cheer for: the Seattle Kraken of the National Hockey League. When season tickets went on sale in March 2018, 10,000 fans paid down a deposit within the first 12 minutes. Within the first hour, that total reached 25,000.
How rabid are Kraken fans? Consider this: they are already shattering NHL jersey sale records. Sales of the home team colors are already the highest in league history for a newly released jersey in its first five days of availability.
In fact, in the first 24 hours of Kraken merchandise sales, the first-year franchise was the top-selling team across all of the major sports leagues in North America.
Of course, fans of sports in Washington have a lot to cheer about. Among the most accomplished athletes from the state are the legendary John Elway of football, John Stockton of basketball, Tom Sneva of auto racing, T. J. Oshie of hockey, Hope Solo of soccer and Ryne Sandberg of baseball.
Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.