Chances are, if you’ve spent virtually any extended period of time in Seattle, Paul Allen has touched your life in some way. The billionaire made his riches as the co-founder of Microsoft, but he made his legacy by creating museums like MoPOP, helping save nonprofit radio station KEXP, transforming the South Lake Union neighborhood and, of course, owning sports teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Sounders.
Allen’s family announced his passing on Monday from complications of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 65.
The Sounders released this statement:
“Seattle Sounders FC offers its deepest condolences to the Allen Family during this difficult time. We stand united with our community in mourning the loss of one of our region’s great icons. Paul Allen was a profound public leader, leaving an indelible mark on many aspects of civic life here in Seattle, including the growth and success of professional soccer. He will be greatly missed.”
The team’s other owners — Adrian Hanauer, Joe Roth and Drew Carey — also released this:
“We are deeply saddened to learn of Paul’s passing. We will forever be grateful for his commitment to our city, shaping its growth and achievements. His partnership in Sounders FC helped pave the way for organizational success, and his overall legacy in this community will live on for generations, impacting countless lives in the process.”
Although he was just a 25 percent owner in the Sounders, he also played a significant role in helping bring MLS to Seattle. Allen’s $130 million-plus investment was the driving force — along with Washington taxpayers — in the construction of CenturyLink Field, the building of which was predicated on accommodating soccer.
Allen did not actually put up any cash to obtain his stake in the Sounders, rather his investment in the team came in the form of paying for business operations and the use of office space through the 2013 season. In 2014, the Sounders and Seahawks split their business operations.
There are reports that Allen’s estate may be looking to sell the Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers, of which he’s also the primary owner. It would stand to reason that his smaller stake in the Sounders would also be sold.