RENTON — Among the many motivations Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson cited Thursday for becoming a partial owner of the Sounders was a fear the ownership group might no longer be based in Seattle, which could’ve left the team’s future uncertain.
Wilson and wife Ciara were announced last week as one of 11 families who became new owners in the team, taking over a share that had been held by one of the team’s founding owners, movie producer Joe Roth. A 12th partial owner was announced this week, Peter Tomozawa. He will also become president of business operations.
At his regular weekly meeting with the media after Thursday’s practice, Wilson said one concern when he was first approached about potentially becoming an owner last fall is that if the situation was not stabilized with local ownership, the team might leave.
A Sounders spokesman said Thursday the team was never in danger of moving.
“It’s a legacy thing for our family, too, in Seattle,’’ Wilson said. “We really care about Seattle. It’s a special place for us and we wanted to make sure it didn’t move anywhere else, to be honest with you. And that was a thought, a little bit of a thought. And so to get involved and be a part of it was really special.’’
Wilson said a dinner at his house with Ciara, team co-owner Adrian Hanauer, former Microsoft executive Terry Myerson and his wife Katie and other potential owners last November basically cemented his desire to become involved with the team.
Myerson, who helped link many of the owners together, detailed in a LinkedIn post that “a California investment group was being very aggressive in getting a deal done” to take control of the team, with the future of the team then left uncertain.
Wilson said that he and Ciara had “pretty much all the families over to the house and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to do this. And just kind of get all the information on what is going on and really try to say, ‘Let’s keep this in Seattle. Let’s keep the Sounders in Seattle.’ Took a cool selfie photo and said, ‘Let’s do this.’ So we were in. That was really, that was all she wrote.’’
The total share of ownership stake of the 12 new owners totals $58.6 million, according to a recent SEC filing, but it’s unclear how much of the percentage of the total ownership stake that is, or how much each family may have invested.
Wilson signed a new contract with the Seahawks in April that will pay him up to $140 million through the 2023 season.
Wilson said the process of becoming an owner “wasn’t difficult’’ once the decision was made other than it simply took a while to run through the legal process.
Wilson said he had known for a few weeks before that it would happen and said he had to avoid spilling the secret to anyone.
“I’ve always loved soccer,’’ Wilson said. “It’s actually the first sport I ever played.’’
Wilson said he was mostly a goalie but that “I left the goal too much because I was always trying to score.’’
Wilson said since coming to Seattle he has become a Sounders fan and now that his family is established in the city he wants to do what he can to ensure sports teams thrive in the area — he has also been active in a group attempting to return the NBA to the city and also is part of a group attempting to lure baseball to Portland.
“To bring people together and support the Sounders but also support our community,’’ Wilson concluded of his reason for buying into the team. “That’s what we are really interested in with the Sounders and our ownership with the team and partnership with the team.’’