Barry Ackerley purchases Seattle SuperSonics in October 1983.

  • By Dan Johnson
  • Posted 3/06/2001
  • Essay 3064

In October 1983, Seattle SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman agrees to sell Seattleā€™s NBA (National Basketball Association) franchise to Barry Ackerley, a billboard magnate originally from Des Moines, Iowa. The sales price is reported to be $22 million.

Ackerley had moved his business to Seattle in 1975 and immediately ruffled local feathers when his company illegally pruned a couple hundred trees to make way for better billboard viewing. Eventually, however, Barry and wife Ginger became appreciated members of the community, and some of its more generous -- since 1987, the Ackerleys have donated more than $100 million to dozens of local organizations, including Seattle Art Museum and the Pacific Science Center.


(; Seattle SuperSonics 1999-2000 Media Guide ed. by Marc Moquin (Seattle: Full House Sports & Entertainment, 1999); Robert L. Jamieson Jr., "Sonics Boss Signs Out," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 12, 2001 (

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You