SEATTLE – Even as Seattle Seahawks fans mourned the death of longtime owner Paul Allen on Monday, many were left wondering what it meant for the future of the franchise.
Allen bought the team from Ken Behring in 1996, shortly after Behring's failed attempt to move the team to L.A.. He then went on to oversee a franchise that made it to three Super Bowls.
Seahawks Gamedy analyst Ian Furness said it’s likely oversight of the team will transfer to Allen’s sister, Jody Allen, who is vice chair of First & Goal Inc., and Berte Kolde, the senior director of Vulcan Inc. Kolde and Jody Allen have both long been active in Allen’s operations, and Kolde frequently accompanied him to Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers games.
“The easy answer is, we don’t know,” Furness said. “The logical answer is, Jody Allen and Bert Kolde will probably assume the day-to-day responsibilities.”
The Seahawks and Vulcan announced a major shakeup at the top at the end of September, as Seahawks president Peter McLoughlin left the team and was replaced by Tacoma native Chuck Arnold, the longtime Chief Operating Officer. McLoughlin also left his role as CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, and was replaced by Trail Blazers president Chris McGowan. McGowan kept his job with the Trail Blazers, and Arnold now reports to McGowan.
A week later, Allen announced his cancer had returned.
“I get the feeling when those moves were made that Paul Allen was setting us up here in Seattle to make sure this franchise continued to move in the right direction,” Furness said.
There were conflicting early reports on whether there was already a plan in place to sell the Seahawks and Trail Blazers in the event of Allen's death.
Brian Berger of Sports Business Radio said there was a plan in couple "for a couple of years" to sell both teams. The Oregonian's John Canzano, however, said he was told by sources that Jody Allen is a Seahawks fan but "does not enjoy the Trail Blazers," and is likely to be a more visible presence in the Seahawks' front office.
Allen had attended most Blazers games and almost every Seahawks game until recently, when he announced he had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for the second time.
“I’ve traveled with the team since 2011, and the only trips I’ve seen him miss are the recent ones when he’s been ill,” Furness said.