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Sign of the times: Pro soccer outsells M’s on Seattle season-ticket front

The newest team in Major League Soccer, the Seattle Sounders, have outsold the Seattle Mariners in season tickets for the 2009 season.The Seattle Mariners may have been the boys of summer at Safeco Field for the past decade, but there’s a new player in town, as MLS’s Seattle Sounders — an expansion team — has sold more season tickets than the M’s for the upcoming season.

Of course, directly comparing the two squads is a little misleading: the M’s still generate more revenue from season tickets, as Sounders tickets are lower priced and cover far fewer games. And reps from both teams downplay talk of direct comparisons. Still, we’ll make a few. The Sounders say they’ve sold 20,000 season tickets, as opposed to the 14,000 or so sold by the Mariners, while the Sounders have also racked up some impressed sponsorships, including a $20 million deal with Microsoft that puts an XBox logo on every team jersey.

Still, the fact an upstart organization — albeit one partially backed by the NFL Seattle Seahawks — has walked into the Mariners’ back yard (quite literally; the team will play at Qwest Field) and stolen a little thunder has to be a little upsetting for followers of America’s pastime.