Nintendo of America is selling its majority stake in the Seattle Mariners. The current minority owners of the team will take over majority stake, led by wireless pioneer John Stanton. Stanton will also become the new chairman and CEO of the team, taking over from longtime CEO Howard Lincoln.
At a news conference at Safeco Field in Seattle, Stanton announced his top priority for the team which hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2001.
"The number one goal of this ownership team is to win a World Series here in Seattle and have a parade and celebration for that event. I think that it's time that we have that accomplishment. It's something that I know all of our fans and, most of all, every person in this organization believes," Stanton said.
Outgoing Chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln says he’s most proud of saving Major League Baseball in Seattle. Back in 1992, he and the other current owners, along with Nintendo, bought the baseball team to ensure it would remain in Seattle.
Nintendo of America will still maintain a 10 percent stake in the team. Lincoln says it was always the goal of Nintendo's late owner that eventually local buyers would take ownership. Lincoln called the ownership change "more of a transition than a transaction."
First Avenue Entertainment, as the now majority ownership group is called, will pay $1.4 billion to acquire majority stake in the team and Root Sports Network, which is also part of the deal. The ownership switch is subject to approval by Major League Baseball, which the club hopes to get during league meetings in August.