I don’t know much about Tanzania, but I do know how blindly compelled I am to travel there. The magic of Tanzania, mystical as it may be, is no more evident than at CenturyLink Field, where an advertisement for the African nation’s board of tourism spans the vast majority of the North End Zone. Notre Dame may have Touchdown Jesus; we have Touchdown Kilimanjaro.
Each time I’ve been to CenturyLink Field in the past two months, I’ve overheard dozens of equally-confused bystanders questioning what the hell that brightly-colored Tanzanian travel ad is doing in our home venue. It’s a reasonable inquiry. Most minor league baseball stadiums would be hard-pressed to find a gaudier display for their outfield fences, yet Paul Allen’s ownership group has managed to do this at the highest level of sport. It’s quite impressive, when you think about it.
Anyway, I needed to get the back story behind the mural that’s come to look down upon each and every Sounders, Seahawks, and Husky Football game. Otherwise, I’m just a guy shouting “TANZANIA!!!!” every time we score at that end of the field. And that’s weird.
As it turns out, the partnership between Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and Allen’s Vulcan investment group was conceived in July of this year. Based on what I’ve inferred from this article I found, it appears that Allen had traveled to Tanzania at some point in the past, enjoyed himself, then felt compelled to post this orgasm of a billboard in his stadium when the TMNRT offered up what I have to believe was a shit-ton of money. (How much money, exactly? A shit-ton. That’s how much.) Either that, or Allen owed someone a huge favor. Or he just really, really, really likes Tanzania.
Regardless of how Tanzania came to be associated with the Seahawks and Sounders (and for a year at least, the Huskies), it’s quite apparent that this touch of marketing genius is more than just a welcome guest, it’s lucky as all hell. Seriously. Effing lucky. Don’t believe me? Take a look at these facts:
- Since the ad appeared in late-July, Seattle’s home teams are UNDEFEATED at CenturyLink Field, going 8-0 over that time frame (the Sounders are 3-0; the Seahawks are 1-0 in the regular season, after going 2-0 in the preseason; and the University of Washington football team is 2-0).
- With Tanzania inhabiting the North End Zone, the Sounders have outscored their visitors by a margin of 8-1 in that span. Simultaneously, the Seahawks have pasted their opponents by a 75-27 differential (27-7 in the regular season, 48-20 in preseason), while the Huskies have blown out the competition by a mark of 73-25.
You can’t make up stats like that. And sure, we might have great fans and all, but we did lose games pre-Tanzania. Post-Tanzania? Zero losses. ZERO! And we’re not just beating teams. We’re crushing them!
You can point fingers wherever you want. Me? I’m bowing down to the North End Zone. Give me zebras, rhinos, Zanzibar, the highest peak on the African continent, and a roster full of players wearing our hometown colors. We cannot be beat!
Long live Tanzania!