The team has officially transferred their majority ownership group from Nintendo of America to a group led by John Stanton, who will now serve as Chief Executive Officer, replacing Howard Lincoln.
With an approval vote from the Major League Baseball owners on Thursday at the MLB quarterly meetings in Houston, the Seattle Mariners finalized their ownership transfer on Friday morning.
The sale of Nintendo of America’s majority ownership interest in the franchise to other members of club’s ownership group, led by John Stanton, is officially closed as outlined in the announcement made on April 27.
Nintendo of America will retain a 10 percent stake in First Avenue Entertainment LLLP (FAE), the limited partnership that owns the Mariners and a majority interest in ROOT Sports Northwest. It means the percentage has shifted within the group of ownership with no new members being added.
The ownership change also finalized the retirement of longtime franchise Chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln, who held the position since Sept. 27, 1999. Lincoln will remain on the Mariners’ executive board as a representative of Nintendo of America. Lincoln was instrumental in Nintendo’s purchase of the Mariners in 1992 along with several members of the current ownership group.
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Stanton will take over as chairman and CEO. He was approved by Major League Baseball as the designated control person for the Mariners franchise.
“I care deeply and passionately about the game of baseball and about baseball fans in Seattle and the Northwest,” Stanton said in a statement. “Mariners fans have been so positive, so patient with the team, and we want to reward them with playoff and World Series baseball here at Safeco Field.
“I want express my deepest appreciation to Howard Lincoln for his 17 years of leadership and a smooth transition in the last four months. The future of Mariners baseball is bright. The right management team is in place and focused on winning. It is an honor to lead this franchise, and I am ready to get started and excited for the challenges ahead.”
Born in Seattle and raised in Bellevue, Stanton joined the Mariners’ ownership group in 2000 and ascended to the board of directors this season. A longtime local businessmen, Stanton built his wealth in the wireless industry, co-founding three national wireless operators in the United States over the past three decades.
He currently serves as chairman of Trilogy Partners LLC, a private investment firm. He also serves on the boards of Columbia Sportswear, Microsoft Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp. He also serves as chairman of Year Up, a nonprofit program for youth in Seattle, and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Besides the Mariners, Stanton has indirect ownership interest in the Mariners’ Class AAA franchise, the Tacoma Rainiers, as well as the Walla Walla Sweets and Yakima Pippins of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League.
The members of the Mariners board of directors now include Stanton (chairman), Lincoln, John Ellis, Buck Ferguson, Chris Larson, Jeff Raikes and Frank Shrontz.