Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, pop singer Ciara, are joining a group looking to bring Major League Baseball to Portland, Ore.
89th Academy Awards – Oscars Vanity Fair Party – Beverly Hills, California, U.S. – 26/02/17 – Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and singer Ciara. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
The Portland Diamond Project announced on Friday that the pair had signed on to the effort. The Seahawks star confirmed in his own Twitter post as well.
“MLB to Portland! Let’s Go!!! @Ciara & I are pumped to be Owners, Investors, and Partners in bringing @MLB to Rip City!.” Wilson tweeted on Friday.
Wilson and Ciara join former Nike executive Craig Cheek, who launched the project last month, and others as investors in the project. The group is reportedly focused on procuring land and beginning to build a stadium.
No financial terms were announced, but ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports that all partners in the group are splitting the costs evenly and would be the favorites to become owners should MLB award an expansion franchise to the city.
People walk on a street the evening before a scheduled protest in Portland, Oregon, U.S. June 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
It’s unclear how the group would be involved should an established team relocate to Portland.
Wilson’s no stranger to baseball, having been drafted in both 2007 and 2010 and spending two years in the low minors, though electing to stick with football as a professional. He’s also appeared in Spring Training Games with the Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.
Wilson partnered with the Sonics Arena Group in 2016. That group is trying to revive the Sonics franchise in Seattle after the original team moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, the singer Ciara, have joined the effort to bring Major League Baseball to Portland.
The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Portland Diamond Project, the company leading the push, announced Friday that the husband-and-wife celebrities have each invested individually as “owner/investors” in the project.
The Diamond Project’s leadership has stressed that its effort will take time, estimating an opening day in Portland would come in 2022 at the earliest.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has called Portland a candidate to acquire a franchise whether by expansion, which hasn’t happened in 20 years, or relocation.
Though Wilson is an NFL quarterback, he has a connection to baseball. He played in the minor leagues while in college and practiced with the Texas Rangers during spring training in March.
Local group Portland Diamond Project, whose mission is to bring Major League Baseball to the city, announced the Seattle Seahawks quarterback and singer as being new partners.
No financial details were announced, but a source said all partners in the venture split the costs equally for the effort. If MLB were to award the city an expansion franchise, those involved in the project would naturally be the favorites to be owners. It would be more complicated if a current team with an existing owner moved to town.
Wilson is also a partner in a venture to bring the NBA back to Seattle.
The Portland Diamond Project was formally announced earlier this month. It is led by former Nike executive Craig Cheek, who got to know Wilson when the quarterback signed his endorsement deal with the brand. The plan is to acquire land in the area and begin the process to build a ballpark.
Earlier this month, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he would like to expand by two teams to 32. He previously cited Montreal, Charlotte and Mexico City as early favorites.
If either come to fruition, and Wilson is in line to become an owner, the NFL would ultimately have to approve the transaction, making sure that any other partners could not be offering him any extra incentive that would result in tampering.
For the last two decades, Portland has been spoken about as a community that could support baseball, though the knock is that the only current minor league team in the market is the Hillsboro Hops, a Class A short-season team.
Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara are venturing into the world of pro sports lobbying by investing in the Portland Diamond Project, a group aggressively trying to bring Major League baseball to Portland, Oregon.
“As owners, investors, and partners in this incredible opportunity, we plan to change the game of baseball and impact the lives of kids everywhere,” Wilson said in a statement Friday.
The Portland Diamond Project has already placed bids on potential stadium sites and said it plans to build an 8,000-unit apartment complex in tandem with a new venue.
Wilson said the opportunity to help bring a second MLB franchise to the Pacific Northwest “reminds me of being a father.”
“I can’t think of any better way to share family memories than at the ballpark,” he said. “I recall dreaming big as a child, my dad made sure I knew I could achieve anything I set my mind to, just as the guys on the big field did. With this project, we want to inspire others to feel the same way. We’ll build a community where all families are welcomed, a place where many championships will be won, legends never forgotten, a foundation for winning.”
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said he wants to get the league from 30 to 32 teams, and last year mentioned Portland as a city that “would be on the list” for possible expansion.