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Marshawn Lynch is growing his status as a Seattle sports legend, this time into a second sport.
The former Buffalo Bills running back, who helped lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl title in 2014, announced that he and Seattle-born rapper Macklemore are becoming co-owners of the city’s NHL franchise, the Kraken. Lynch has also signed on for an NHL ambassador campaign aimed at promoting social change.
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Lynch Announces Ownership Stake
As ESPN’s Kristen Shilton reported, Lynch and Macklemore approached the Kraken last summer about becoming minority investors, and the team announced this week that the two had purchased a stake. Kraken CEO Tod Leiweke said that while they weren’t actively seeking to expand the ownership group, Lynch’s influence in the community looked to be a good asset for the team.
“For us, we didn’t need additional investors,” Leiweke said, “but the thing that attracted us to these guys was their interest in community activism through this organization, and that’s a big deal.”
Leiweke added that Lynch will be involved in the league’s Hockey is for Everyone campaign, which aims to make the sport more inclusive. The former running back said he’s happy to add sports owner to his resume.
“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’m [going to] continue to count my blessings.”
The terms of the ownership deal were not disclosed.
Lynch Keeps Connection to Buffalo
While he may have made a much deeper impact in Seattle, Lynch still carries close ties to the city where his NFL career started in 2007. He returned to Buffalo as a Bills Legend in November, appearing at Highmark Stadium before the Week 11 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Lynch appeared to enjoy himself at the game, later sharing a message of appreciation to Bills fans.
But the extra affinity that Seattle holds for Lynch makes sense given the fact that his career took off after the 2010 trade that sent him to the Seahawks. The Bills had a crowded backfield at the time, and the trade allowed Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller to split duties in Buffalo, becoming the league’s second-best rushing attack the next season. Lynch averaged 1,339 yards over his first four seasons in Seattle, helping lead the Seahawks to two Super Bowl appearances and one win.
Lynch has remained active in the NFL since retiring, and last year signed on to become the NFLPA’s first-ever chief brand ambassador.
“From providing financial wisdom through his experience as an entrepreneur to mentoring others on the realities of the business of football, Lynch serves as a strong example of how athletes are more than the sports they play,” the NFLPA said in a release last year. “As a NFLPA chief brand ambassador, the five-time Pro Bowler will work with union leadership to ensure its 2,000+ members get the most out of football, providing strategic support and insight for the many athlete-driven programs, resources and revenue growth opportunities available to players.”