Ken Behring, a billionaire philanthropist and the controversial former owner of the Seattle Seahawks, died Tuesday, Brady Henderson of ESPN reports. He was 91.
Behring bought the Seahawks in 1988 and presided over the most seminal period in the franchise’s existence, attempting to relocate to Southern California before selling the team to Paul Allen.
“We are saddened by the loss of former Seahawks owner Ken Behring,” the Seahawks said in a brief news release. “We send our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Behring’s family and friends.”
Behring made his fortune as a real-estate developer before buying the Seahawks from the Nordstrom family. He announced in February of 1996 that he was moving the team to Anaheim, citing an inability to secure funding for a new stadium or renovations to the crumbling Kingdome.
The Seahawks had one foot in California, having packed up equipment in moving vans, heading south and setting up operations at what used to be the Rams’ facility. They even held a few workouts there before returning to Seattle once the city and NFL intervened.
Allen bought the team from Behring in 1997 after Washington voters passed a referendum to pay for the majority of the costs for what would become CenturyLink Field, which was a condition of Allen’s purchase.