Nintendo of America has sold it’s majority ownership stake of the Seattle Mariners to wireless-industry pioneer John Stanton. The deal was announced yesterday and is still pending approval by Major League Baseball. The group will own a whopping 90 percent stake in the franchise which is currently valued at 1.4 Billion with a B dollars. The Stanton Group paid 1.26 Billion for their 90 percent share. Fans hope that Stanton will bring accountability to the franchise that has languished under Nintendo’s control the past 24 years.
Stanton says the team’s leadership — including president Kevin Mather, general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais — will remain in place and should benefit from the support of an ownership group that believes “payroll matters” in building a winner. Stanton wouldn’t be specific on future spending, but the team’s $1.4 billion valuation confirms wide speculation that the Mariners have become one of the wealthiest franchises in baseball.
The total value of the deal ranks the Mariners at 8th in total value among MLB teams and may only continue to rise. The Mariners were valued at 100 Million in 1992, then valued at 641 Million in 2011, and now jumped to 1.4 Billion.
The team in early 2013 partnered with DirecTV to form Root Sports NW, a regional sports network, that covers a six-state territory and is believed to add at least $200 million to the team’s price tag. The Mariners’ official valuation would rank eighth in baseball on the annual Forbes list, nestled between the $1.6 billion St. Louis Cardinals and the $1.34 billion Los Angeles Angels.
That surging value is what sources close to the team say drove Redmond-based majority owner Nintendo of America to sell most of its controlling stake, believed to be 55 percent. The death in September 2013 of Nintendo patriarch Hiroshi Yamauchi helped set in motion events that led to Wednesday’s announcement.
Mariners ownership timeline
April 27, 2016
Nintendo sells majority stake to a minority group led by John Stanton.
July 1, 1992
The Baseball Club of Seattle, backed by Nintendo of America, assumes control. The board of directors includes John Ellis (chairman), Minoru Arakawa, Chris Larson, Howard Lincoln, John McCaw, Frank Shrontz and Craig Watjen. Chuck Armstrong is named President.
Oct. 5, 1989
The Mariners are purchased by a partnership of Jeff Smulyan, Emmis Broadcast-ing, Michael Browning and the Morgan Stanley Group Inc. Smulyan assumes the role of chairman. Smulyan later was in talks to move the team to St. Petersburg, Fla.
Jan. 14, 1981
George Argyros becomes principal owner of the Mariners, purchasing majority interest in the club. Argyros may have been best-known for pushing the front office to choose pitcher Mike Harkey over Ken Griffey Jr. in the 1987 draft.
Feb. 6, 1976
The expansion Mariners are owned by partners Stanley Golub, Danny Kaye, Walter Schoenfeld, Lester Smith, James Stillwell Jr. and James A Walsh.
Source: Seattle Mariners and Seattle Times archives