Tod Leiweke is now several years removed from Seattle, yet his name still gets thrown around here.
"I was really inspired by the idea Paul Allen saved the Seahawks," said the now NFL chief executive officer, who was on stage the GeekWire Sports Tech Summit in Seattle.
Leiweke was CEO of the Seahawks and Vulcan Sports for several years, guiding the franchise in the new stadium and was instrumental in the hiring of Pete Carroll. Yet he left for icier pastures, so to speak. He ran the NHL's Tampa Bay Lighting and a renovation of their arena, boosting their attendance as well.
Then the NFL league office came calling and a chance to help run the show in New York. Yet, he still gets mentioned these days about being part of an effort to bring the NHL and NBA to Seattle. His brother, Tim, is leading the effort to renovate KeyArena.
"I'm here to talk about NFL," Tod told reporters after his GeekWire appearance, laughing when asked he was still the "good" Leiweke brother. Pressed again, Tod added, "I'm gonna let him talk about all that stuff."
Tim shared the same stage hours later, and again made his pitch to the tech-friendly crowd about why he thinks KeyArena is perfect for a remodel. Tim said he's still negotiating with the "Mayor's Office, Mayor's staff, City Council" and "392 Crazy Sonics Fans that are threatening us every day."
But he spoke of how he believes technology can make the spot work.
"There is going to be technology in particulars, driverless cars, Uber, mass transportation, are ultimately find ways to park and then commute in by doing what I think they're going to do here, the monorail," said Leiweke.
The arena developer also suggested adaptive signal technology will also help get cars to KeyArena.
"They're now introducing computerized lighting systems on mercer we've never had em before, by the time we have our arena, we'll have that."
He did not mention his brother during the nearly half hour presentation.
Tod did talk almost completely about the NFL and what he says will be different in the upcoming season, saying the "pace of play" has been an issue.
"There were some breaks that were pretty ominous, post PAT the break, before the kick and break," he said.
Leiweke said there will be fewer commercial pods in the fall, meaning longer, yet fewer breaks. Some viewers noticed during the 2016 season, some late season games went commercial free for the first quarter. Leiweke acknowledged it was an experiment.
He also said the NFL is leaning on Seattle right now, more than some may realize. Teams use Microsoft Surfaces and Amazon gained NFL rights. He also noted new helmet technology is coming out of Seattle.
"Seattle is truly in an amazing place in sports."
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