How Russell Wilson's Moves On & Off The Field Made Him One Of The Wealthiest Black Athletes In The World
Photo Credit: Taylor Hill

How Russell Wilson's Moves On & Off The Field Made Him One Of The Wealthiest Black Athletes In The World

NFL fans have been watching Russell Wilson for many years. He went from graduating from NC State with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast/communications, then a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Wisconsin to becoming a football player like no other.

He’s one of the richest NFL players in the league today and has the third-highest salary. He has been named to eight Pro Bowls, and starred in two Super Bowls (ultimately leading his team, the Seattle Seahawks, to a Super Bowl XLVII win over the Denver Broncos). He holds the record for most wins by an NFL quarterback through nine seasons and is one of four quarterbacks in NFL history with a career passer rating over 100.

It’s no wonder, then, that Russell Wilson has a net worth of $135 million and an average annual salary of $35 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

But it’s not just football that keeps Russell Wilson paid. Let’s see how else he invests his extensive wealth.

Editorial note: The net worth listed in this piece is a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources.

NFL Career

Photo Credit: Timothy A. Clary

Celebrity Net Worth and Forbes have both gone into extensive detail about Russell Wilson’s NFL contract, career and salary. According to the outlets, Wilson’s first base salary as a rookie was $700,000. But, in 2016, the game changed completely for Wilson. His base jumped up to $12.34 million, up again the next season to $12.6 million, then $15.5 million in 2018 and $17 million in 2019.

And that’s not all.

On July 31, 2015, the Seattle Seahawks signed Wilson to a four-year contract extension valued at $87.6 million with a signing bonus of $31 million and $60 million of it guaranteed. Then, in April 2019, the Seahawks signed Wilson to a four-year, $140 million contract extension that made him the NFL’s highest-paid player. The contract comes with a $65 million signing bonus, and Wilson will receive a total of $107 million in “guaranteed money.”

Sports Team Ownership

Courtesy of the Seattle Sounders

In December 2020, Russell Wilson spoke to CNBC about the importance of Black equity and ownership in sports.

“I’m fired up to get there. I would love to own the Seattle Seahawks one day,” he said. “The city is so special … That would be one of my biggest goals in life.”

But the outlet revealed that while it would take several years (at his current salary) for Wilson to build up the buying power to invest in an NFL team, he and his wife Ciara do have a bit of an ownership stake in a soccer team. In 2019, they paid an undisclosed amount to become minority owners of Seattle’s Major League Soccer franchise, the Sounders.

Endorsements

Courtesy of General Mills

Russell Wilson has no shortage of endorsements, including Wheaties cereal, Levi’s, American Family Insurance, Pepsi, Nike, Alaska Airlines, Microsoft, Duracell, Bose, Braun, United Way and the Larson Automotive Group.

Film and Television

Photo Credit: Amy Sussman

As AfroTech previously reported, Russell Wilson teamed up with his wife, Ciara, to launch Why Not You Productions. The production company signed a first-look deal with Amazon in 2021.

Philanthropy

Courtesy of Why Not You Foundation

Together with his wife, Ciara, the Wilsons are involved in various philanthropic efforts.

During the pandemic, AfroTech reported that the Wilsons teamed up with Seattle-based food bank Food Lifeline to donate one million meals across the city.

In October 2020, Ciara and Russell Wilson donated $1.75 million in funding to rebrand a Seattle-area charter school.

In December 2020, the Wilsons launched The House of LR&C, a retail concept that focuses on merging the couple’s philanthropic commitments with their interest in the fashion world.

Fragrance

Courtesy of R&C The Fragrance Duo line

In November 2020, Ciara and Russell Wilson launched the R&C The Fragrance Duo line, which was symbolic of their love, as AfroTech previously reported.

“This is a dream come true for both of us,” said Ciara in an interview with People. “I’ve been dreaming of creating my own fragrance for years and the chance to introduce our first fragrance together was truly special and meaningful.”

Real Estate

Photo Credit: Carl Bortolami

According to The Richest, the Wilsons have made their primary residence in Seattle, in the tony Bellevue district of the city. The mansion is situated on more than six acres of land and has more than 10,000-square-feet, which has seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms. As one might expect, the Wilsons have customized it with the finest of finishes, and even though they only paid $6.7 million when they purchased it in 2014, it’s safe to say that it’s worth so much more today.

Other Ventures

Courtesy of KGW8

In 2014, Russell Wilson announced that he’d become part-owner of Eat The Ball, a European bread company, according to USA Today. This would be the first of his many investments off the field, because the next year, he invested in both Luvo and Reliant Recovery Water, according to Rolling Stone. 

In 2016, he became a part of a group of investors to bring a new sports arena to the SODO district of Seattle.

The year 2017 was a banner year for Wilson’s investments, as he invested in TraceMe (which also had Jeff Bezos leading the investment round), VICIS helmets and the Molecule mattress company, according to Bloomberg.

He is also an investor in the Portland Diamond Project, which aims to bring a Major League Baseball (MLB) team to Oregon.