On Wednesday, Seattle Dragons’ President Ryan Gustafson took to Facebook to field and answer a handful of questions from the Dragon faithful. The questions ranged from ticket packages and merchandise to team and league progress inquiries.
Gustafson is incredibly familiar to the Seattle area and the local sports fans. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, WA) in 2008, he received his M.B.A. from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) and began his career in sports. Outside of his years as an executive with the San Diego Padres, Gustafson has planted his roots in the Seattle Sports scene.
After graduating from Harvard, Gustafson began working with the Seattle Supersonics and Storm and quickly moved on to spend over two years with the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders (MLS). After his stint with Major League Baseball and the San Diego Padres, Ryan returned to the Sounders where he was VP of Business Strategy and Development up until being hired by the newly founded Seattle Dragons in April of 2019.
With opening day less than three weeks away, Gustafson was able to share insight on training camp and progress in logistics and branding with the Dragons fans as he took control of Seattle’s Facebook page at 12 PM PT on Wednesday, January 22nd. Here are the highlights:
Q: Any word on how ticket sales are going league-wide? I am excited about the XFL and looking forward to the season. Best of luck!
A: “I’m not familiar with how sales are going in a lot of the other markets, but I’d say we’re blown away about the support in Seattle. Seattle has the best fans in the world and we’re excited about continuing to build this, not just for game 1 or season 1, but for many years to come.” – RG
Q: Stream all matches in an XFL app.. even if it’s just a camera overhead and one in each end-zone… sometimes you just can’t watch it on tv, but you gotta see the game!
A: “One of the great things about the XFL is our broadcast partnerships with ABC/ESPN and FOX. All of our games will be broadcast nationally, so hopefully that makes it easy to catch it on TV, or even better, in person! We unfortunately won’t be streaming within the XFL app, but are doing everything we can to ensure fans have easy access to watching our games!” – RG
Q: Which radio station is going to be the radio home of the Seattle Dragons?
A: “We’re working through our overall partnerships with radio in Seattle. This may not include a traditional radio broadcast for the first year – however, I think you will definitely see some Dragons presence & content on local sports radio stations and we’re excited about that.” – RG
Q: What’s the latest on the on and off field apparel partners? Jersey deal and sideline wear etc.
A: “Be on the lookout for more news around apparel partners and merchandise in the future. We’re excited about all the partners of the XFL and will always look to partner with the best in the business.” – RG
Q: With less than a month until kickoff, what is the biggest concern going into the season?
A: “I don’t know if I would call them concerns because I’m so excited about where we are. My biggest areas of focus are continuing to tell the story of the Dragons to new fans every day, and make sure they have a great experience at CenturyLink Field on February 15th and beyond. There’s a lot of work left, but this is about building for the long-term and that’s more exciting than concerning.” – RG
Q: What would you say the Dragons’ biggest strengths are as we get ready to start the upcoming season?
A: “I’ll leave a lot of the football questions to the football experts…however, I was just down at training camp the last couple of days and was really excited about the way we looked. In particular, I personally thought the running game, and defensive line looked great, but I know the staff is excited about all areas and we’ll continue to get better each day!” – RG
Q: How will future prospects be scouted?
A: “I know our player personnel department, led by Tony Softli will always be out there scouting talent from various places. We’re going to continue trying hard each day to build a championship, starting on February 8th and beyond!” – RG
Q: What about fantasy? And an app?
A: “We will have an app – more to come on this! Our league office is also continuing to work through partnerships for fantasy football and gaming – more details to be announced as soon as we’re able to!” – RG
Ryan also discussed various details regarding their ticket packages, parking and responded to plenty of inquiries about their merchandise, which is operationally run by the league’s headquarters. He also confirmed that merchandise and tickets will be available at CenturyLink Field.
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Expect 35,000 in Seattle for the opener with 20,000 season tickets sold already. St.Louis better step up after all the talk of proving the NFL wrong. The NFL owners absolutely look at attendance figures in alternate leagues for expansion or relocation. Jacksonville got a team because of the USFL attendance, and San Antonio was the Saints and Raiders possible spot. The Chargers will be eyeing St.Louis, San Antonio, Portland, and likely San Diego again…once the LA shine wears off in 5 years.