Seahawks’ Russell Wilson partners with SoDo arena group aiming to bring back Sonics
The effort to build an arena to house potential NBA and NHL teams in Seattle has a new name on its side: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson announced in a Tweet on Monday afternoon that he has partnered with the Sonics Arena Group to help in its effort to build a new arena in the area.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) November 14, 2016
The Arena Investment Group followed up shortly with a statement of its own.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled that Russell is joining our partnership and continued efforts to bring the NBA and NHL back to Seattle,” said Chris Hansen, who has led the charge to build an arena in SoDo, in the statement. “As you are all aware, we have always kept our focus on doing this for the right reasons – Our love for our City, our love of basketball, and our belief that pro-sports has the ability to positively influence our youth and bring communities together in a way very few things in this world can. It is with this shared view that we welcome Russell, a young, smart and passionate entrepreneur, as our business partner. We know that his enthusiasm, positivity, and ‘never give up’ attitude will make a huge difference in our effort.”
A person familiar with the agreement told KIRO Radio’s Michael Lewis that Wilson independently approached the Seattle Arena partnership, making it a five-member team. Wilson is a financial investor – not just a PR figurehead – in the partnership, though the source would not disclose the terms.
Wilson and Hansen became friends about four years ago, and Wilson expressed an interest in ownership and management issues then.
Wilson is expected to talk more about the partnership at his usual Thursday media session at Seahawks headquarters.
This is not the first time Wilson has voiced his support of a future return of a Sonics franchise to Seattle on his Twitter account, but it is the first time he has announced an official partnership with the Hansen-led group that has spent several years trying to bring the Sonics back.
Hansen announced last month he is willing to forgo any public funding to build an arena on a parcel of land he owns south of Safeco Field and CenturyLink Field in the SoDo district.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll told the media Monday he didn’t know details about Wilson’s involvement with the group but said it “sounds like fun.” When asked what the announcement speaks to Wilson’s scope in Seattle, Carroll said: “He loves his community and I think he’s interested in being a part of something that’s really special here. We’re all aware of how dear it is in the hearts of the people around here and Russell would love to be a part of something like that.”
MyNorthwest.com’s Eric Mandel contributed to this report.