Ryan Gustafson to be named President of XFL Seattle Franchise

Ryan Gustafson to be named President of XFL Seattle Franchise

Ryan Gustafson , who was most recently the vice president of business strategy and development for the Seattle Sounders. Prior to spending four years with the San Diego Padres, he worked in ticket sales and customer service for the Seahawks and Sounders from 2008 to 2010. Gustafson grew up less than 10 miles from CenturyLink Field.

And though he’s changing jobs, he won’t be changing stadiums. Tuesday, Gustafson will be named president of the XFL’s new Seattle franchise.

“It’s the most amazing opportunity I can think of,” Gustafson said in a phone interview Monday. “I think that this city has the best sports fans in the world, and I’m happy to be one of them. That’s a cool thing, to be able to create something from scratch that could have a real impact on this community.

“This place is where I grew up. It’s part of my DNA. I am Seattle, and I am so proud to be from Seattle. So the ability to really build something that I think is going to be incredibly special and connect with fans that I have such a close connection with already and do it in a way that is uniquely Seattle is something that is such a cool thing. I’m very lucky and grateful for the chance to do it.”

Update: Here is the official press release from the XFL

Stamford, Conn., March 26, 2019 – The XFL today announced that Ryan Gustafson, most recently the Vice President of Business Strategy & Development for Sounders FC, has been named President of the XFL football team in Seattle.

The Seattle XFL team will first take the field in February 2020 for its inaugural season and play its home games at CenturyLink Field. Jim Zorn was recently named the team’s Head Coach and General Manager.

Gustafson will be responsible for the team’s fan engagement and business operations, including ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing, content, communications, community relations, and the game day experience.

“Ryan is well-established in the Seattle sports community and Vince McMahon and I are proud to welcome him to the XFL family,” said Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and Chief Operating Officer. “We have no doubt he and Coach Zorn will have a strong partnership and together build something special on and off the field.”

“I’m excited to help bring the XFL to the Pacific Northwest and build a team that makes a lasting impact in our community,” said Gustafson. “I’d like to thank Adrian Hanauer and the entire Sounders family for the chance to be part of such a great organization. Growing up less than ten miles from CenturyLink Field, and with a love of all things connected to Seattle sports, I know how special fans are here, and I’m grateful to the XFL leadership for this truly unique opportunity.”

“I’d like to extend Ryan a warm welcome,” said XFL Seattle Head Coach and General Manager Jim Zorn. “He’s a hometown guy with a wealth of front office experience, and I’m looking forward to working side-by-side with him to bring to life our team here in Seattle.”

Vice President of Business Strategy & Development for Major League Soccer’s Sounders FC, Gustafson led strategic planning for the organization and led all revenue-generation initiatives, including ticket sales, corporate partnerships, and suites.

Gustafson spent four years with the San Diego Padres, starting in 2013 as Manager, Business Strategy and Analytics. He was promoted in 2014 to Senior Director, Strategy & Innovation, and to Vice President of Strategy & Innovation in 2015. In that position, he oversaw CRM and business analytics, financial projections and special projects. Gustafson also spent a year with Major League Baseball as a senior analyst and worked in ticket sales and customer service for both the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC from 2008 to 2010.

After working for the Seahawks and Sounders, Gustafson attended Harvard Business School and graduated with a Master’s in Business Administration in 2012. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics from the University of Puget Sound in 2008, where he captained the varsity baseball team.

Raised in Bellevue, Wash., Gustafson currently resides in Seattle.

About The XFL
The XFL will reimagine football for the 21st century when it kicks off the weekend of February 8-9, 2020. The new league is committed to delivering a fan-centric, innovative experience, including fast-paced games and a family-friendly environment, complemented by cross-platform viewing options and real-time fan engagement.

Football is America’s favorite sport boasting over 85 million fans, but the traditional season is just too short. Seeing a tremendous opportunity to fill the void, Vince McMahon, XFL Founder and Chairman announced on January 25, 2018, the launch of a new league, which he is personally funding. McMahon is building the XFL with the same commitment and resolve that he has demonstrated building WWE into a global media and sports entertainment powerhouse.

Delivering authentic, high energy football for the whole family at an affordable price, the XFL will offer fast-paced games with fewer play stoppages and simpler rules. The league will launch with eight teams, 45-man active rosters, and a 10-week regular season schedule, with a postseason consisting of two semifinal playoff games and a championship game. The XFL will also establish a health, wellness and safety program that meets the needs of today’s athletes.

The XFL will embrace the latest on and off-field technology, providing live game coverage, content and real-time engagement across multiple platforms, giving fans greater access than ever before. The XFL is committed to building grassroots relationships with local organizations in its host cities through social responsibility partnerships, and the XFL will enjoy the support of WWE’s many extraordinary resources and promotional capabilities.

The XFL will launch next year in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Washington D.C.

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