Ex-NFL star Marshawn Lynch, Macklemore join ownership group of NHL’s Seattle Kraken

Marshawn Lynch and entertainer Macklemore now co-owners of Seattle Kraken

Courtesy: Seattle Kraken

The NHL’s Seattle Kraken has added former NFL star Marshawn Lynch and rapper Macklemore as minority investors.

The terms of the investments were not made public. Sports bankers estimate that minority equity stake deals similar to this are generally for 1% of a team or less. The Kraken’s estimated value is $875 million, according to Forbes.

Lynch expressed his appreciation for the city where he played seven of his 13 NFL seasons with the Seahawks, helping the franchise win its first Super Bowl in 2014.

“This is something I never would have imagined,” Lynch said in a statement. “I always dreamed of playing on a professional team but owning one is something special. As I look back on some of my accomplishments — I retired before I was 30 and now being an owner of a professional club at the age of 35 – I’m gonna continue to count my blessings.”

The Kraken will end its first season next month after joining the NHL as an expansion franchise in October. The team is controlled by majority owner David Bonderman who paid a $650 million expansion fee to join the league. That’s up from the $500 million expansion fee the Las Vegas Golden Knights paid in 2016 to join the NHL.

In an interview with CNBC, Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke said Lynch and Macklemore first expressed an interest in joining the franchise as investors last summer. The deal was eventually finalized by the NHL this month.

“For us, we didn’t need additional investors, but the thing that attracted us to these guys was their interest in community activism through this organization, and that’s a big deal,” said Leiweke, who is also an investor with the Kraken.

Marshawn Lynch and entertainer Macklemore now co-owners of Seattle Kraken

Courtesy: Seattle Kraken

The franchise said Lynch would participate in the “Hockey is for Everyone” – a campaign the NHL uses to drive diversity and inclusion awareness. In addition, Leiweke said Lynch would shadow the CEO to learn the hockey business.

“He’s intrigued with the idea of what’s it’s like to be an owner and the business side and the financing,” Leiweke said. “And it will be a thrill taking him on that journey.”

Leiweke added, “When somebody signs up at that level, they’re writing a check, but there’s so much more than that. They’re giving their time, relationships, and ultimately giving you their passion, and that’s the most treasured part of this.”

Leiweke added Macklemore would “add value to the gameday experience” with his musical background. The Seattle native, known as Ben Haggerty, won a Grammy in 2014 for Best Rap Album. He’s also an investor in a golf apparel line called “Bogey Boys,” which launched in February 2021.

“I’m a big hockey fan and have watched the team come to life and the fan base grow over the last four years, plus I have so many memories of playing the now-Climate Pledge Arena that this investment was a natural one,” Macklemore said in a statement.

Other Kraken investors include Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and mega Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

The Kraken haven’t qualified for the NHL postseason and will complete their season May 1 against the Winnipeg Jets.