SEATTLE – Could Amazon founder Jeff Bezos end up owning the Seattle Seahawks?
A Washington Post story published early Thursday afternoon raised that possibility, stating that while the Seahawks are not for sale, Bezos “has expressed an interest in buying the Seahawks.”
The Post, which Bezos owns, attributed the quote to “a person familiar with the NFL’s thinking” and reported that Bezos, through a spokesman, declined to comment.
The Post reported that other NFL owners “are keen” to have Bezos buy a team, whether it’s the Seahawks or another franchise, and quoted New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft as saying, “I’m sure that eventually it would be in everyone’s best interests if someone that’s as community-oriented as him gets involved in the Seattle situation.”
The Seahawks are owned by the Paul G. Allen trust, headed by Allen’s sister, Jody, who is officially listed as the Chair of the Seattle Seahawks.
Jody Allen officially took over that title after Paul Allen died in October of 2018.
The Seahawks are on their bye week, meaning they do not have a game scheduled for this weekend. Team officials couldn’t immediately be reached Thursday for comment on The Washington Post story.
The team has made clear on several occasions that it is not for sale, and the Post story also reported the Seahawks are not for sale, citing a person familiar with the team’s thinking.
Jody Allen hasn’t talked to the media since taking over the team, though she did release a statement last October saying she will “do all that I can to ensure that Paul’s vision is realized.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has, on a few occasions, spoken of Jody Allen’s commitment, notably after he signed a two-year contract extension last Christmas Eve keeping him with the team through the 2021 season.
General thought was that Carroll wouldn’t have re-upped had he had any concerns about the team’s future.
“We had one really significant meeting, a couple of talks, and she has been really excited and really fired up about doing this,” Carroll said two days after signing his new contract. “And anybody that’s a ‘12,’ that cares for the Seahawks, would be really fired up about how she is looking at this and how she wants to go about it. She’s got a great love and spirit for the area and the club. Must be in the family that she cares so much. But she’s ready to go and I’m excited for her.”
Seahawks general manager John Schneider also spoke glowingly of Jody Allen’s involvement with the team at the NFL combine last February, when the team made official that it had put a new ownership structure in place, announcing Allen as chair.
“We’ve been working with Jody now, and she has been amazing,” Schneider said then. “It has been hard (losing Paul), but she has been amazing. She’s real responsive, she is into it. She’s aligned, she wants to win, it has been great in that regard.”
Carroll and Schneider spoke to Jody Allen’s involvement in some of the big transactions the team has made since, such as signing off on a contract that made quarterback Russell Wilson the highest-paid player in NFL history at $35 million a year, a contract that made Bobby Wagner the highest-paid inside linebacker in team history and the trade for defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. On his weekly pregame radio show, Schneider praised Allen for giving the OK to use her plane to fly Clowney from Houston to Seattle to get the deal completed as quickly as possible.
Jody Allen raised the 12 Flag before the Seahawks’ game against the Rams last month, when Paul Allen was officially inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor, which some regarded as a public passing of the torch of the ownership of the Seahawks.
The Washington Post story noted that Bezos, 55, has never publicly expressed interest in owning an NFL team but noted Amazon does have a deal to stream the league’s package of Thursday night games via its Amazon Prime service.
The Post reported that Bezos has an estimated net worth of $109 billion, which would obviously be more than enough to own and run a team. As the Post noted, the Carolina Panthers were the last NFL team sold, for $2.3 billion in 2018. The Seahawks had an estimated value of $2.8 billion in the most recent Forbes magazine franchise valuations.
Paul Allen officially purchased the team from Ken Behring in 1997.
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