Yesterday morning, Bill Simmons broke the news that not only Chris Hansen, but also Thomas Tull, was preparing a bid for the Atlanta Hawks with the intention of bringing them to Seattle. Immediately every Sonics fan went to Google and typed in Thomas Tull. So what do we know?
Tull was born in 1970 in Endwell, New York. He played baseball and football as a child and accepted an athletic scholarship for the latter to Hamilton College, which he graduated from in 1992. Tull went into the private equity business with Convex Group, where he rose through the ranks and became President. In 2003, Tull quit Convex and raised $600 million to start Legendary Pictures, where he is now the CEO and Chairman of the Board. Legendary is a film production company that partnered with Warner Brothers to co-produce and co-finance motion pictures. They have been responsible for such titles as the Dark Knight and Hangover trilogies, Trick 'r Treat, and Beerfest. They recently split from Warner Brothers and are now partnered with Universal Studios. Since then they have released Godzilla and the sequel to 300. Legendary also owns Nerdist Industries, a website and YouTube channel started by comedian Chris Hardwick.
Tull is a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Film Institute as well as the San Diego Zoo. In 2009, Tull became part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers (a fact that certainly won't win over any Seahawks fans). He also was a finalist to purchase the San Diego Padres in 2012, partnering with Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
As of September 2013, Forbes listed Tull's net worth as $840 million, but they named him "One to Watch" and predicted he would reach the billionaire threshold in short order.
So why Seattle? The only connection we could find, and it's admittedly a flimsy one, is that Joe Roth, current part-owner of the Seattle Sounders, was a board member at Legendary. Aside from that, Tull seemingly has no connection to the Emerald City. However, he could just see dollar signs in owning a professional sports team here. It could also be due to the fact that Legendary signed a deal in 2013 with China Film Group to co-produce films for a global market. Seattle is much closer to China than Atlanta.
Whatever his reasons, it's nice to have another big-money name who recognizes the value in our market. What Tull's involvement could mean for Chris Hansen and his SODO arena plans are still a question, but it never hurts to have millionaires on your side.