Simulations and seasonal forecasts of tropical Pacific SST and subsurface fields that are based on the global Consortium for Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean (ECCO) ocean-state estimation procedure are investigated. As compared to similar results from a traditional ENSO simulation and forecast procedure, the hindcast of the constrained ocean state is significantly closer to observed surface and subsurface conditions. The skill of the 12-month lead SST forecast in the equatorial Pacific is comparable in both approaches. The optimization appears to have better skill in the SST anomaly correlations, suggesting that the initial ocean conditions and forcing corrections calculated by the ocean-state estimation do have a positive impact on the predictive skill. However, the optimized forecast skill is currently limited by the low quality of the statistical atmosphere. Progress is expected from optimizing a coupled model over a longer time interval with the coupling statistics being part of the control vector.