Nintendo has "no plans" to sell stake in Seattle Mariners

Following former president Hiroshi Yamauchi's death, chairman says company will not unload its majority stake in professional baseball team.

Nintendo of America has no plans to sell its majority stake in professional baseball team the Seattle Mariners. That's according to Mariners chairman and CEO Howard Lincoln, who also sits on the Nintendo of America board of directors.

The news comes after the death of former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi last week. Yamauchi was the majority owner of the club until 2004, when he transferred ownership to Nintendo of America.

"There's always speculation in times like this," Lincoln told the Puget Sound Business Journal. "I think I can speak on behalf of Nintendo of America and say that Nintendo has no plans to sell its majority interest in the Mariners."

Lincoln recently returned from a 10-day fishing trip to Alaska and was out of communication due to the remote location of the expedition. He did not know Yamauchi had died until late Thursday.

"I've known and worked for him (Yamauchi) for more than 30 years," Lincoln said. "More than 2,000 people came to his (memorial) in Japan on Saturday, I was told. He was a man of small stature and commanding presence. People liked him. I saw him in action in Japan and the United States, and he was always very warm. He was a visionary. We need to think about and never forget all he did for Seattle and for the Northwest."

Under Yamauchi's leadership, Nintendo diversified from its beginnings as a trading card company and introduced both gaming hardware, such as the NES, and arcade hits like Donkey Kong into market in the '80s. He also helped establish some of the development studios that would go on to create some of the industry's most enduring video game characters.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Yamauchi was also instrumental in keeping professional baseball alive in Seattle. He became the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners in 1992 before then-owner Jeff Smulyan was planning to sell the team to a group in Florida.

In 2004, Yamauchi transferred ownership of the Seattle Mariners to Nintendo of America, meaning he was no longer the official owner of the club. However, the paper points out that he was still considered the "titular owner," even after the transfer.

"I can't tell you what's going to happen in the future, but now Nintendo feels very strongly that Nintendo wants to maintain its ownership interest in the Mariners," Lincoln said.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
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103 comments
BATRAX
BATRAX

I NEW THIS THIS IS OLD NEWS

gamer6130
gamer6130

wow i never knew Nintendo owns a baseball team, this is good to know.
 a piece of there shares come from them too.

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

Biggest news is that Nintendo had a majority stake in a MLB team.

csward
csward

The Japanese love their baseball.

GnugnaGnagna
GnugnaGnagna

Hardly a gaming piece of news, isn't it?

WllDan7
WllDan7

It is still weird they don't make official baseball games anymore seeing how they are the only video game company that has a baseball team. Whatever though.

AD216
AD216

I love Nintendo and the Mariners but for the love of God sell the team you cheap bastards. You can't have a team with King Felix and a bunch of bums smh.

DaneGamer
DaneGamer

Well this should get the Wii U off the shelves :) Or not.

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

Yes, Nintendo has a baseball team. Guess what, they didn't join the video game industry until the late 80s. They did all kinds of stuff before that and I can even imagine Nintendo leaving the console business and jsut doing movies or something.

tightwad34
tightwad34

I had no idea that they had a stake in the Mariners and that's my team even if they suck. I guess that explains the advertisements behind homeplate.

blind59
blind59

Nintendo owns Seattle Mariners

Microsoft owns Seattle Seahawks

*not Microsoft specifically, Paul Allen does the other guy who co-founded MS with Bill Gates.

BTW both there American head  quarters are in the same city and like right across from each other

EVOchamp2015
EVOchamp2015

I'm surprised anyone in Gamespot knew what baseball even is, always complaining about a game review.

DiamondDM13
DiamondDM13

It's called respect. Good to see people still know what it is.

SNESNOSTALGIA2
SNESNOSTALGIA2

Anyone remember Ken Griffey Jr. Slugfest? That could be a huge reintroduction for WiiU into the sports market. It was an incredible game and Nintendo simply has no good traditional sports exclusives. Trust me, I love and know how good The Show is but that's a Sony exclusive - and there is enough room for another excellent baseball title. That series was so incredible and Griffey himself WOW - career was cut off way too short because of injuries and he doesn't get enough respect as an obviously non roided out slugger. Bring his amazing series back Nintendo!!!! The series and the man deserves this!!!!

Diegoctba
Diegoctba

Now i have a team on MLB.

Go Seattle Mariners.......

rarson
rarson

He owned the team, but never went to a single game.

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

Duh! Why would Nintendo sell stake in Seattle Mariners when people expect to eat hot dogs at a baseball stadium. :D

JoInfo
JoInfo

Hooray! Nintendo is better than Xbox and Playstation!

ArataWata
ArataWata

Nintendo has a baseball team?

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

 nintendo isnt going anywhere those WHO think that need to look at the facts the ,3ds will keep them going and wiiu will end a moderate success

blutosan
blutosan

I have always thought that it was cool that Nintendo owned the Mariners. And while the team hasn't been that good lately, I have never heard that Nintendo is a particularly bad owner. They also represent an important connection to the Japanese market.  I know that when Ichiro was with them, every Mariners game was televised live in Japan and plenty of people watched even with the time difference.  

RedLegZeff
RedLegZeff

He bought the mariners when the previous owner was thinking about selling it to florida, the seahawks were almost sold to another state a decade or so ago, we lost the seattle supersonics to I think oklahoma. What is with everyone trying to steal our teams, and the owners trying to sell them? Seattle teams are almost the only teams in the pacific northwest. Except for portland trailblazers, we don't count them.

ferrarimanf355
ferrarimanf355

Dammit, I want them to sell the team to Mark Cuban so he can be Bud Selig's problem now. 

That, and so the team can have a shot at being relevant again. 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Why do they even want the ownership stake?

canuckbiker
canuckbiker

So that's how Mario baseball was born.

amaneuvering
amaneuvering

Well, unless it makes Nintendo money it probably should sell it's stake.

b74kd3th
b74kd3th

Makes sense misery loves company, both are irrelevant.

Patohua1
Patohua1

Is anyone else confused as to why a video game company in Japan owns an American sports team...? This is the most random article ever lol.

OGmackPLRcool
OGmackPLRcool

@AD216 I agree.  Unfortunately it takes a ton of money to win in baseball and the Mariners dont seem like they are committed to ever being more than the Yankees farm organization.

elementonly08
elementonly08

@Patohua1 It was a struggling sports team that was very loved. It would have failed without him. He saved it to spread happiness.

EVOchamp2015
EVOchamp2015

@SilentMonkee I think you don't follow sports at all, every losing team has fans that say "sell the team" like thats gonna do a difference, especially in baseball. With baseball success comes with patience you don't build a winner over night. You gotta have good scouts in able to draft good players and give out multi-year contracts to players that deserve/earned it. Seattle is far from "cheap" it's just the players they signed haven't panned out.  

eyeball2452
eyeball2452

@elementonly08 @Patohua1 Maybe when it was owned by an actual person.  I wouldn't want to be a Nintendo shareholder though.  I don't know what the Mariners have to do with the continued success of Nintendo.

Bowser05
Bowser05

@elementonly08 @Patohua1 Also don't forget that Nintendo has dabbled in MUCH MORE than just video games, and most of that expansion came when Yamauchi had taken over. Video games were merely the most successful so they stuck with that. That being said, that doesn't mean that Yamauchi necessarily lost interest in other ventures. Just a thought.

tightwad34
tightwad34

@EVOchamp2015 It also seems like whenever someone goes to another team they all of a sudden start to hit a lot better. And it's not just the ballpark I tell ya. Look at Beltre. He tore it up immediately after he left Seattle and didn't do much at all when he was there. I think they are headed in a good direction.

SilentMonkee
SilentMonkee

@EVOchamp2015 @SilentMonkee Start your comment by putting someone isn't a great way to start a conversation.  Obviously a song wouldn't make a difference.  My comment was to reply OP saying never heard Nintendo is a particularly bad owner, which I disagree and I post a support link to others would disagree as well.  You might think they are great owner, but I don't, and I am not alone.

How much patience is enough?  I am sure you know how they did in the last 5 years with JZ as GM, and he just got an extension.   I am guessing more patience.  It's great he locked down Felix for a few more years, but where is the hitting, their scouts keep missing on batters, and they don't sign any big name FAs.  

http://seattle.mariners.mlb.com/sea/history/year_by_year_results.jsp

This is gaming site, so I am going to leave sports talk out of this.  I honestly don't care enough about baseball to talk more about it.

imyourdaddy
imyourdaddy

@Patohua1 @elementonly08 He did it to please the workers at Nintendo of America, which is based in Seattle. I'm assuming their are a lot of Mariner fans that work at Nintendo of America.

Bowser05
Bowser05

@Patohua1 @elementonly08 I'm pretty sure all the Seattle residents would strongly disagree with you. No matter how good or bad they are...a lot of people take pride in supporting their home team...and there can be nothing more painful to know that your hometeam is on the road to disappearing. It's nice that Yamauchi renewed hope for the residents that way.

Patohua1
Patohua1

@Bowser05 that is true, I just haven't heard of any other fields they've even touched lately until right now.