By the Blouin News Sports staff

Seattle sports on the rise

by in American Football, Baseball, Basketball, Soccer.

Seattle Sounders v Toronto FC

Clint Dempsey’s return to MLS with Seattle could go a long way in improving the sports popularity. Brad White/Getty Images

There’s no professional basketball in Seattle. The Seattle Mariners have had a dozen straight seasons without a playoff appearance. The Seattle Sounders, who are one of the most popular clubs in Major League Soccer, failed to get past the conference semifinals for the fifth straight season (every year they’ve been in the league). And the Seattle Seahawks were just beaten by their rival San Francisco 49ers for their second loss of the season.

So what do Seattle sport fans have going for them? A lot.

The Mariners signed Robinson Canó formerly of the New York Yankees to the third highest MLB contract in history over the weekend — a 10-year, $24o-million-dollar pact. While many will find reasons that this is a horrible deal, it could pave the way for other free agents to join Canó in Seattle alongside arguably the game’s best pitcher: Felix Hernandez. Those two alone could carry the Mariners into the playoffs next October, but it’s likely because of those two that management will be able to lure in more attractive free agents — a task that has been very difficult over the past decade. So in short, playoff baseball could be back in Seattle.

The Seattle Sounders now have five MLS seasons under their belt. And every season they lead the league in attendance records across the charts. With their rent-free stadium — thanks to minority owner Paul Allen who owns the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks — boasting a capacity of 67,000 seats, the Sounders could continue to expand the available seats upon demand. Last season, their average home attendance was over 43 thousand per game, a number that would rival the top-five in the English Premier League. This season, the Sounders completed the largest transfer deal in MLS history, signing the U.S.’s Clint Dempsey from Tottenham Hotspur for $9 million. Dempsey is considered the best American soccer player to date, by many, and his return to the States could help improve the league’s popularity. This offseason, expect the Sounders to buff up to their roster to make a title run in 2014.

The Seattle Seahawks are 11-2. They are tied with the Denver Broncos for the best record in the National Football League. And they’ve already clinched a playoff berth. However, their 19-17 loss in San Francisco to the 49ers has tarnished that shin somewhat. Remember, though, that Seattle has the second-best point differential in the league with +152 , after Denver’s +170. Same scenario with points scored: 357, second behind Denver’s 515. And while boasting one of the strongest offenses in the league (led by Russell Wilson and MarShawn Lynch), the Seahawks also have one of the game’s stingiest defenses. They have allowed the second-fewest points with 205. Seattle fans can feel good about their Vince Lombardi trophy quest.

And Chris Hansen, a Seattle-based hedge-funder, is leading an investment team that is trying to bring Seattle its first ever National Hockey League team. The team would likely be relocated from Phoenix, and inserted into the league’s Northwest/Canadian rivalry: the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks.

So Seattle’s sport situation looks solid. No titles or serious hardware has come their way of late, but a possible new franchise to root for makes a fine consolation prize.