Nintendo Does More Than Just Video Games


Many of you probably know that Felix Hernandez, that’s King Felix to all of us mortals, threw a perfect game on August 15, 2012. Could you imagine having your choice of some of the best seats in the house or an amazing owner’s box to watch this historic game in? I know I would have been there to congratulate that young man as soon as he threw that last pitch.

Howard Lincoln sure was, but he is more of a custodian to the franchise. Some people may be surprised to hear that Nintendo of America owns the Seattle Mariners. I know I was. The people that made the system I played games like Goldeneye and WCW vs. NWO Revenge on own a sports team.

Howard Lincoln, a career lawyer and former chairman for Nintendo of America, is the acting “owner” of the Seattle Mariners. However, the true majority shareholder is a man named Hiroshi Yamauchi, the chairman of the Nintendo Corporation and a mysterious old billionaire. ($2.5 billion to be exact)

The reclusive Yamauchi is an 84 year old college drop out. To be fair to the great business man, he was closer to $5 billion before Nintendo’s stock price plummeted roughly 55% over the past few years. If I was losing money that fast, I would definitely be at the stadium to relieve some stress and relax, if that’s possible as a Mariners fan. Yamauchi doesn’t agree, he reportedly has NEVER seen his team play live. There are multiple reasons for this, chief among them is that he lives in Japan, which is no small trip to Seattle. For those of you familiar with John Madden, Yamauchi is said to have a very similar fear of travel. Madden refuses to fly anywhere and takes a very ($) comfortable RV on any long trips. This doesn’t explain away Yamauchi never going to see his team though. Seattle is a popular pick to play games in Japan every few years. This is certainly because of Nintendo’s ownership, and its’ former star Ichiro Suzuki. Yamauchi was a no show for all of these games though. Does he even like these guys or did Lincoln con him into buying this team for him long ago?

In all, it is a bit surprising that a video game company jumped into the MLB in 1992. Nintendo may have been a power house back in the ’90’s but the MLB owners have long been opposed to foreign ownership of franchises. That may be one of the reasons Howard Lincoln is the face of the Seattle ownership instead of Yamauchi. It surprised Seattle Mariner’s fans in ’92 and it surprises some of us to this day, but Nintendo sure did a decent job during their tenure. Even if they have dropped off a cliff, to say the least. Will we ever get a Nintendo vs. Microsoft or Sony World Series? Based on the front office of the Mariners lately, it doesn’t seem likely.

About the author: Colby Rogers

Colby is the Editor-in-Chief, Founder and Lead Contributor to Other League. Also a law student focusing on Labor & Employment law and intersections with law and sports. You can find him on Twitter via @Colby_OL.