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Seahawks, Trail Blazers Still Not for Sale Despite Offers, Legal Obligations

  • Jody Allen has a legal obligation to sell the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks.
  • However, there is no set timeframe for those sales to occur.
Nike co-founder Phil Knight at an NBA game.
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September 27, 2023 | Podcast
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Nike’s co-founder wants to buy the Portland Trail Blazers, and the franchise legally must be sold — but it’s unclear when that will happen.

The Blazers and Seattle Seahawks were put in the hands of an estate after their previous owner, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, died in 2018, with instructions to sell the teams and donate the proceeds to charity. The estate is controlled by Allen’s sister, Jody Allen.

NBA bylaws require that teams held by estates be sold in a timeframe determined by the league.

Those dynamics have attracted a high-profile suitor: Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Knight and Dodgers part-owner Alan Smolinisky have approached Jody Allen multiple times, but she has referred them to other officials and maintained that the Blazers aren’t for sale, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A spokesperson for Vulcan, an umbrella company founded by the Allen siblings in 1986, said the estate could take 10 to 20 years to fully unwind.

The Blazers were valued at $2.1 billion by Forbes last year, 16th of 30 NBA teams. The Seahawks ranked 14th of 32 NFL teams with an estimated value of $4.5 billion.

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Don’t Sleep on Seattle

Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon in Seattle, looms as a potential bidder for the Seahawks after he passed on a bid for the Washington Commanders.

A Seattle referendum from 1997 requires that 10% of the team’s sale price go to Washington State if the team is sold within 25 years of the bonds being issued. That period runs until May 21, 2024.

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