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Why a sale of the Seahawks is unlikely before May 2024

6/26/2022 8:01:56 PM
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As rumors have circulated the last few months about whether the Seattle Seahawks could be put up for sale, sources close to the situation have stated categorically that the team is not currently on the market.

Coach Pete Carroll seemed to confirm that publicly earlier this month when he was asked if team chair Jody Allen has given him any indication that the team could be for sale.

“She’s never entertained that thought at all,” Carroll said. “I haven’t heard her say that at all.”

But if that ever changes, here’s a date to watch — May 2, 2024, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times reports.

That’s the day when the Seahawks would no longer have to turn over 10% of the gross sale price of the team to the state of Washington.

That provision is included in Referendum 48 that was passed in 1997 and funded the construction of Lumen Field.

The clause specifically states that if Paul Allen or his estate become less than minority owners at any time before 25 years have passed since the sale of the first bonds, that the Public Stadium Authority receives 10% of the gross selling price of the interest of the team.

The clause is public record but has rarely been discussed. A recent story in the Sports Business Journal noted its existence.

A spokesman for the Public Stadium Authority confirmed to The Seattle Times that the date of the first sale of bonds was May 1, 1999 meaning any sale before May 2, 2024 would result in the team having to give 10% of the gross sale price to the state.

The Denver Broncos have a pending deal to be sold for $4.65 billion, the first team to be sold since 2018. Assuming the Seahawks prove to have a similar value if put up for sale — Forbes Magazine last year had Denver 10th on its annual list of NFL franchise value rankings with Seattle 12th — that would mean turning over $465 million or more to the state if sold before May 2, 2024.

The money would be earmarked to improvements in the now 20-year-old stadium. Before the bonds were paid off last year, they would have gone to Washington state public schools.

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