Speculation recently emerged that, sooner than later, the NFL (and NBA) franchises owned by the late Paul Allen will be sold. For now, his immense art collection is for sale.
Via the Associated Press, roughly 150 items worth more than $1 billion will be auctioned through Christie’s.
“These works mean so much to so many, and I know that Christie’s will ensure their respectful dispersal to generate tremendous value for philanthropic pursuits in accordance with Paul’s wishes,” said his sister, Jody, who currently serves as controlling owner of the Seahawks.
The reference to “philanthropic pursuits” is significant in this context. The issue of a potential sale of the Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers emerged due to a report that Paul Allen’s trust requires that his assets must be liquidated with the proceeds going to Allen’s “passion projects.” Also, when Jody Allen issued a statement in July explaining that the Seahawks are not currently for sale, she added this: “A time will come when that changes given Paul’s plans to dedicate the vast majority of his wealth to philanthropy, but estates of this size and complexity can take 10 to 20 years to wind down. There is no pre-ordained timeline by which the teams must be sold.”
The most important date is May 1, 2024. Any sale of the Seahawks before May 2024 requires 10 percent of the proceeds to go to the state of Washington, a term of the deal to build the team’s current stadium. With the Seahawks likely to generate $5 billion or more, that’s a large chunk of money that would come off the top of the transaction. At this point, it’s easy enough to wait another 20 months to sell.
Eventually, the Seahawks will be sold. The sale of Paul Allen’s billion-dollar art collection underscores the fact that it’s just a matter of time.