It didn’t take long for local politicians to realize that Paul, who already owned the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, was the man for the job. “At the end of the day, there was no Plan B,” said King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. “There was only Plan A and Plan A was Paul Allen."
Despite the considerable financial risks associated with doing so, Paul agreed to purchase the team out of a sense of commitment to the community where he was raised. “If I entered the NBA out of passion, I was called to the National Football League out of civic duty,” Paul said.
But before he went through with buying the team, voters around the state would first need to agree to fund the construction of a new stadium for the Seahawks to call home. The resulting bill, Referendum 48 (prophetically, the same number as the Super Bowl the team would go on to win in 2013), passed on June 17, 1997. It did so by a razor-thin, 51.1-to-48.9-percent margin and resulted in a unique, public-private funding agreement. Football in Seattle had been saved and at the victory party, Paul himself victoriously played his guitar in celebration.