Nintendo of America, located in Redmond, is selling a majority of its interest in the Seattle Mariners, the team announced Wednesday.
Nintendo will retain a 10-percent stake, while the rest will be purchased by First Avenue Entertainment (FAE) LLLP, a partnership that owns the Seattle Mariners, according to release on MLB.com. FAE also has a majority interest in ROOT Sports NW, which has its station based in the Eastgate neighborhood of Bellevue.
The blockbuster news announcement also includes the retirement of Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln from day-to-day operations. He will be replaced by John Stanton, who will be chairman, CEO, and designation Major League Baseball Control Person. Lincoln will retain a seat on the FAE Board of Directors.
“From the first day of our involvement nearly 24 years ago, Nintendo has had two goals for its investment in the Mariners,” said Lincoln in a news release. “First, we wanted to assure the permanence of the team in this great city. And on that count, I am proud and gratified that this agreement further solidifies that goal.
“On the other hand, I’m equally disappointed that we have not been able to host a World Series game for our fans.”
Stanton said his goal is, and the organization’s goal as a whole is, to bring a World Series trophy to Seattle, something that’s been elusive for the Mariners. The team currently has the longest post-season drought in the major leagues, and has never played in a World Series. The team has only made the postseason four times since its first season in 1977.
Stanton is optimistic about the ball club’s future:
“I believe that the Mariners are well positioned to achieve that goal (of a World Series win) and it will be my honor to lead the organization. I want to thank (Lincoln) for his leadership for the last 17 years and thank the members of the board and ownership for giving me this opportunity.”
In the transaction specific details were not disclosed. A $1.4 billion valuation of FAE’s holdings, which included the team and the sports station, were used as a basis for the sale.
At the time of the announcement, the Mariners sit in first place in the American League West with a 11-9 record.