UPDATE — 6:08 pm EST
At a press conference at Safeco Field in Seattle, Howard Lincoln announced that he will retire from day-to-day operations, and John Stanton will replace him as Chairman and CEO.
In addition to that, Nintendo of America will hold a 10 percent stake of the team while the rest will be sold to First Avenue Entertainment LLLP. Nintendo of America plans to sell a majority of its interest in the Mariners to other members of the current ownership group.
The sale of ownership change is subject to approval by MLB, which won’t happen until August.
Also included in the sale is the Mariners and Root Sports RSN which is valued at $1.4 billion, according to Ian Furness.
John Stanton, who will take over the day-to-day operations, calls this “a transition rather than a transaction.” Stanton is a local guy who has spent also almost his entire life in the Seattle area and worked at nearby Microsoft.
“When Mr. Yamauchi purchased the team, it was with the idea to return to local ownership,” Stanton said. “Today marks the opportunity to do that.”
Stanton says all 17 minority owners are purchasing bigger shares as local group takes over previous Nintendo ownership share.
“The No. 1 goal of this ownership group is to win a World Series,” said Stanton. “It’s time we have that accomplishment.”
There will be no other front office changes which means Kevin Mather will stay on as team president.
——–End of update———
According to multiple reports out of Seattle, Seattle Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln will be stepping down.
The news was first reported by Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Seattle.
Major breaking news. Sources say major shakeup at Mariners ownership with Howard Lincoln retiring. Not confirmed by team.
— Mike Salk, 710 ESPN (@TheMikeSalk) April 27, 2016
Lincoln has been in his position since 2000, when he took over for then chairman John Ellis. According to sources of Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, minority owner John Stanton will be replacing the 76-year-old Lincoln, but it is unknown whether or not he will take on a bigger ownership stake.
The Mariners are majority owned by Nintendo of America and Lincoln is the company’s voice for the team on the board of directors which has made him basically the man in charge. It will be interesting to see where the team goes from here.
Lincoln has been instrumental in the team’s growth since taking control. One of his big moves was expanding into Japan and bringing in Ichiro Suzuki to Seattle to play for the Mariners.
What he will most likely be remembered for, however, is the success the team had under his control, which was not much. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2001, the longest drought in professional sports.
Stanton has been wanting to grow his share in the team and this move apparently will do so. It is reported that he has quietly built up his coalition to make this move possible.
What is still left to be answered is how this departure of Lincoln will impact the team and what moves could come next.
The Mariners will have a 3:00 pm PST press conference at Safeco Field which will most likely be to announce the news.