Owner & Founder and Chairman, Vulcan Inc.
Paul G. Allen helped bring major league soccer to the northwest when his Vulcan Sports and Entertainment joined the ownership group behind the Sounders FC. The announcement in 2007 was the result of years of work and enthusiasm on behalf of Seattle soccer fans.
Allen had visions of world-class soccer in his hometown soon after purchasing the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. Allen bought the club to save pro football in Seattle after the former owners threatened to move the team to southern California.
On June 17, 1997 the voters of Washington State approved “Referendum 48” to authorize a public/private partnership to construct a stadium, exhibition center, and parking facilities. One of the keys to the success of the vote was statewide support from the soccer community and its hope to one day see professional soccer, played at the highest level, return to the northwest.
Growing up in the Seattle, Allen’s passion for sports began when he’d attended University of Washington football games with his father, he later became a basketball fan watching to Seattle Supersonics win the 1979 NBA Championship.
Allen bought the Seahawks in 1996 after community leaders asked him to save the team from being moved to Los Angeles.
“From the beginning of this process, my goals have been to work with the community to create a lasting asset for our future; and to ensure the long-term success of the Seahawks,” said Allen at the time of purchasing the franchise. He also wanted to “create a world-class facility for the state of Washington.”
That became a reality in 2002 with the opening of the Seahawks Stadium and Exhibition Center, renamed Qwest Field and Qwest Field Event Center in 2004, and renamed CenturyLink Field and CenturyLink Field Event Center in 2011. An open air facility which many critics argue is the best venue in the National Football League, CenturyLink Field is home to over 300 events annually ranging from soccer, to Supercross, concerts, graduation ceremonies, and trade shows.
“It exceeds the vision we had originally,” Allen said shortly after the opening of the stadium. “We had a bunch of goals about trying to create a really intimate stadium that would be great for the fans, to have elegant architecture, and I think we’ve ended up with a fantastic facility.”
Allen is one of the nation’s best-known and generous philanthropists. He co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975 and continues to be an innovator in the world of business and technology. He is founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc., which oversees his philanthropy and business interests. He is also the owner of the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers.
Allen has been named one of the top philanthropists in America – with lifetime giving of more than $1.5 billion – and is committed to leaving a majority of his estate to support communities throughout the Pacific Northwest and internationally. Allen gives back to the community through The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, which works to transform lives and strengthen communities by supporting arts and culture, youth engagement, community development and social change, and scientific and technological advancement. He also gives directly, including $26 million in 2010 to Washington State University’s School for Global Animal Health.
Allen created the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle in 2003 to accelerate understanding of the human brain in health and disease. The Institute has generated groundbreaking online public resources that integrate extensive genomic and neuroanatomical data, including interactive atlases of the mouse and human brain, which have become staple research tools for scientists worldwide. In 2012, Allen pledged $300 million to significantly expand the Institute’s scientific programs.
In 2004, Allen funded SpaceShipOne, the first privately-backed effort to successfully put a civilian in suborbital space. In 2011, Allen got back into the space business with the formation of Stratolaunch Systems which is developing an innovative airborne launch system. It will utilize the largest aircraft ever manufactured and will provide orbital access to space with greater safety, cost-effectiveness and flexibility.
His independent film company, Vulcan Productions, has won numerous awards for feature films and documentaries, including the Emmy Award-winning Rx for Survival–A Global Health Challenge; the Peabody Award-winning Judgment Day: Intelligent Design; the PBS series This Emotional Life; and the PBS series The Blues.
Allen is also the founder of the EMP Museum, Seattle’s critically acclaimed interactive museum of music, popular culture and science fiction; the Flying Heritage Collection, an assemblage of rare World War II aircraft restored to flying condition and shared with the public; and the Living Computer Museum, a collection of restored vintage timesharing computer equipment in Seattle’s SoDo district.