Russell Wilson has dabbled a bit in baseball, and now he and his superstar wife want to get into the baseball business.
The Seattle Seahawks quarterback and his wife, singer Ciara, are investors in a group hoping to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland. Wilson announced that in a blog post and through a news release.
Wilson and Ciara were announced as “owner/investors” according to The Oregonian, and are the first people to publicly announce their investment in the project. Wilson, who spent some time in the low minors in 2010 and 2011 before going back to football (smart move), and Ciara are investing in the project for different, noble reasons.
Wilson’s connection to baseball runs deep
Wilson said he’s joining the Portland Diamond Project, the group trying to bring MLB to Portland, as a way of passing the game down to kids the way his father taught him the game. Wilson referenced coaching Ciara’s son Future (her child from a previous relationship with hip-hop star Future).
“When I think about bringing new energy, spirit, and care to a city it reminds me of being a father,” Wilson wrote in his blog post. “Passing your passion and your insight on to your kids is so important. Teaching Future how to play little league baseball has been one of the best experiences of my life. It’s a time I have cherished the most.”
Ciara hoping to empower more women ownership in sports
Ciara and Wilson will hold a minority ownership stake if Portland gets an MLB team, The Oregonian reported. For Ciara, it would be meaningful for a female to have an ownership stake in professional sports.
“I want to see this vision come to life and empower more women owners in major sports franchises,” Ciara said in a news release.
The power couple is in a financial position to make it happen. Ciara, a Grammy-winning singer, has had a very successful career in music. Wilson’s most recent contract with the Seahawks was for $87.6 million over four years.
How realistic is an MLB team in Portland?
The Oregonian reported that the leaders of the Portland Diamond Project understand it will take time before their vision could become reality. The project’s leaders assume a team in Portland wouldn’t happen until 2022 at the earliest, the Oregonian reported.
Portland is on a short list of potential cities that the MLB could move to if it expands or relocates. The Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays are two teams regularly speculated as relocation candidates because of their poor stadium situations. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in an interview with The Athletic that the Tampa Bay and Oakland issues would have to be cleared up before expansion becomes realistic.
But Portland is getting its affairs in order so it is ready if Major League Baseball ever seriously looks for a new location. It’s a ways down the road, if it happens at all, but the project got a nice publicity bump by adding two celebrities to the investor group.
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