Most Influential

Most Influential, Sports: Beth Knox

Seattle Sports Commission President, CEO

By Danny O’Neil February 6, 2024

Beth Knox

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

Beth Knox is often asked if she wound up in her current job because of her passion for sports.

Fair question. She is, after all, the president and CEO of the Seattle Sports Commission, and she is an enormous fan of this city’s teams. That’s not the reason she sought this position, though.

“I’m in this job because I love my community,” she says, “and I love creating celebration moments that bring the community together.”

She’s been helping orchestrate those kinds of moments in Seattle for more than 30 years now, having worked with everything from Bumbershoot to Summer Nights on the Pier to Seafair, our city’s largest festival, serving as CEO for 10 years starting in 2005. When the Fourth of July fireworks show was canceled in 2013, Knox stepped in and Seafair saved the show. Six months later, when the Seahawks won the first Super Bowl in franchise history, it was Knox who produced the parade through downtown Seattle. In 2018, Knox was CEO for the Special Olympics USA Games, which brought 3,000 athletes to Seattle to compete across 14 different sports.

“We are building a world-class sports market in this region,” she said. “That’s first and foremost.”

Last summer, it was baseball’s All-Star Game. On New Year’s Day, it was the Winter Classic, the Kraken facing Las Vegas in an NHL game played outdoors at T-Mobile Park. Next year, the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament returns to Seattle for the first time in nine years, and in 2026 Seattle is one of the sites for the men’s World Cup.

As a fan, Knox can’t wait to watch. That’s not the only reason she does this, though. “Premier sporting events provide that platform for engagement,” she says. “It creates community pride. It creates a cultural pride in our city that gives us an identity.”

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