Seattle Mariners: Baseball. Founded 1977.
After two decades in the sterile, cavernous Kingdome, the Mariners now play in one of the most beautiful ballparks in the country, Safeco Field. While the magic of their thrilling 1995 season has never quite been recaptured, the fan base is devout, enthusiastically embracing prodigal son Ken Griffey Jr. upon his return in 2009. Season: April to October.
Seattle Seahawks: Football. Founded 1976.
Attracting a somewhat more blue-collar fan base than the Mariners, the Seahawks play in an equally beautiful stadium, Qwest Field. Owned by local boy made good, billionaire Paul Allen, the Seahawks boast the loudest fans in the NFL--especially impressive since they play outdoors. Though the Hawks have also struggled in recent years, Allen is a premier franchise owner and spares no expense to field a competitive team. Season: September to January.
Seattle Sounders FC: Soccer. Founded 2007.
The Sounders are the newest Major League Soccer franchise and a surprising success. Soccer is a notoriously tough sell in the United States but Seattle embraced the Sounders with uncommon enthusiasm, breaking Major League Soccer attendance records and repeatedly selling out Qwest Field. Expect regional rivalries to heat up when Portland and Vancouver, BC are awarded MLS franchises in 2011. Season: March to November.
Seattle Storm: Women's basketball. Founded 2000.
The Storm are a perennial powerhouse in the WNBA, winning the Finals in 2004 and making the playoffs regularly. Though always contending with attendance issues endemic to women's pro sports, the Storm attracted a local ownership group, who purchased the team from the Sonics ownership when their male counterparts left town in 2008. Season: May to September.
Tacoma Rainiers: Minor-league baseball. Founded 1960.
The Rainiers are the AAA farm team for the Mariners and offer a great opportunity to see top-flight baseball in a very intimate setting (Cheney Stadium seats only 9.600). The Rainiers have seen their share of stars over the years, including Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Juan Marichal, and Jose Conseco. Season: April to October.
Rat City Rollergirls: Roller derby.Founded 2004.
The Rollergirls are actually one of Seattle's most successful franchises, with a traveling all-star team (placing 2nd in the national championships in 2006 and 2007) and a four-team local league. Racking up trophies and strong attendance has graduated the Rollergirls from converted hangars at Magnuson Park to the Key Arena and Kent's ShoWare Center. See also: Everett's Jet City Rollers and the 2009 national champs, Olympia's Oly Rollers. Season: January to June.
Seattle Thunderbirds: Hockey. Founded 1977.
This junior hockey team is (along with their Everett rivals) is the closest you can get to pro hockey in the Seattle/Tacoma area. The team plays in Kent's new ShoWare Center. Season: September to March.
Everett Silvertips: Hockey. Founded 2004.
The newer of the junior hockey teams, the Silvertips are a north-county rival to the Thunderbirds. They play in Everett's Comcast Arena. Season: September to March.
Kent Predators: Indoor football. Founded 2009.
One of the new additions to the Seattle sports scene, the Predators will bring all the fun and mayhem of indoor football to Kent's ShoWare Center. The Predators have the distinction of being originally intended for Wasila, Alaska as the "Arctic Predators." Season: February to June.
Washington Stealth: Lacrosse. Founded 2010.
The Stealth will introduce pro lacrosse to the Seattle/Tacoma area, playing in Everett's Comcast Arena. Season: January to May.
Seattle Mist: Lingerie football. Founded 2009.
While it's uncertain if the Lingerie Football League will ever escape novelty status, a trip to a Mist game will convince you that these women aren't just playing for show. They play a bruising 34-minute game in which most players play both sides of the ball. Season: September to January.
Seattle Supersonics: Basketball. Founded 1967. Departed 2008.
Having won the NBA Finals in 1979 and dominating their division throughout the 1990s, the Sonics were Seattle's winningest pro team. After a spat with the city, owner Howard Schultz sold the team to an Oklahoma ownership group who promptly (surprise!) moved the team to Oklahoma City. The NBA has made vague promises of an expansion team in Seattle, but no one is holding their breath.