NFL star Russell Wilson is one of football’s highest-paid players and he’s earned more than $160 million during his nine-year NFL career. But the Super Bowl-winning quarterback likely still has a way to go before he can reach what he calls “one of my biggest goals”: owning the Seattle Seahawks.
Wilson recently told tech billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban about the NFL star’s dream of owning his current team on an episode of Wilson’s “DangerTalk” podcast that aired in late November.
“I’m fired up to get there. I would love to own the Seattle Seahawks one day,” 32-year-old Wilson told Cuban during their conversation. “The city is so special … That would be one of my biggest goals in life.”
Wilson added that it would especially be “a really special thing” to be a Black owner of a major professional sports team, as no NFL team currently has a majority owner who is Black and NBA legend Michael Jordan, principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets, is the only Black majority owner in that league.
Wilson also promised Cuban to “pick your brain” about the rigors of being a professional sports team owner, something the “Shark Tank” star knows a few things about. The billionaire bought the NBA’s Mavericks for around $280 million in 2000 and the franchise is worth well over $2 billion today.
“If it was easy, everybody would do it. But, it’s not the easiest thing in the world,” Cuban said of owning a team.
“It takes so much energy and so much emotional capital,” Cuban added just after he took a break from the interview to respond to a text message that he said concerned the Mavericks’ offseason plans to potentially acquire a player. “When you’ve got to look at a text to see if you’re making a trade … that just consumes you,” Cuban told Wilson.
Wilson is currently in his ninth NFL season with the Seahawks, who drafted him in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He led the team to a Super Bowl victory in 2014.
Of course, even with Wilson’s nine-figure career earnings, it will take him some time to get to the point where he could afford to buy the Seahawks, a franchise with an estimated value of nearly $3.1 billion, according to Forbes.
Wilson is currently the third highest-paid NFL player with an annual salary of $35 million (behind Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, at $45 million per year, and Houston’s Deshaun Watson, at $39 million) from his contract that runs through 2023. In other words, it would take Wilson several decades at his current salary to build enough net worth to afford to buy the Seahawks outright from that source of income, though he could potentially purchase a minority stake in the meantime.
However, Wilson is also an entrepreneur. In recent years, Wilson has invested in a company that makes high-tech football helmets and he started his own media and production company (West2East Empire) and fashion label (Good Man Brand).
Wilson also previously co-founded a company, called TraceMe, that developed a sports prediction app called Tally, which launched in 2019 after raising money from investors like Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai. Tally shut down after a few months, but then Wilson sold his company to Nike a year ago for an undisclosed amount.
In fact, Wilson already has had a taste of sports ownership, as he and his wife, singer Ciara, paid an undisclosed amount in 2019 to become minority owners of Seattle’s Major League Soccer franchise, the Sounders.
“I’ve always wanted to be a sports owner,” Wilson said at the time of his decision to join the Sounders’ ownership group. “[I’ve] always wanted to get involved in helping cultures and continuing to establish them and grow them, be around great players. I love sports. I’ve also always loved the Sounders, just going to games. I love the crowd. I love the chants they do and clapping. It’s pretty cool…It’s a legacy thing for our family too.”
Wilson and Cuban also discussed the star quarterback’s relationship with Paul Allen, the late Microsoft co-founder and former Seahawks owner who died in 2018 (Allen’s sister, Jody Allen, took over ownership of the team upon his passing). Wilson, who told Cuban that Allen was a major influence on him, previously told CNBC Make It about one of the lessons he learned from Allen.
“The biggest thing that I always learned about Paul, and that I always understood, was ‘do what you’re passionate about, do what you love,'” Wilson told CNBC Make It. “He was a direct demonstration of that … [with] the things that he was able to do, from cancer research to brain research to creating Microsoft.”
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”