The Seattle Kraken, the new NHL ice hockey franchise, have expanded their ownership group, adding US rapper Macklemore and former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch as minority investors.
The Kraken are in their first season (2021-22) after joining the NHL in October 2021.
The two celebrities join the Kraken Investor Group led by managing partner David Bonderman, who paid a $650-million expansion fee for Seattle to join the league, and his daughter, Samantha Holloway, who is chair of the team’s executive committee.
No financial details have been made public, but the Kraken were recently valued at $875 million by Forbes.
Holloway said: “We are fortunate to have an incredibly strong investor group, which has guided the franchise over the last four years.
“We are now adding two hometown heroes who share our values and desires, to give back to this great city and continue to make hockey a sport for everyone.”
In their new roles, Macklemore and Lynch are expected to lead Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena community outreach initiatives.
Lynch, who played seven of his 12 NFL seasons for the Seattle Seahawks, served as a guest announcer at the 2021 NHL expansion draft when the Kraken announced their first 30 players.
He will participate in the team’s “Hockey is for Everyone” campaign and help plan events focused on young people and community activism.
Macklemore, also a Seattle native, will work to produce music events that serve the community and engage with fans and to partner with the team for an annual Bogey Boys and Seattle Kraken Golf tournament.
Bogey Boys is a golf and lifestyle brand launched by the rapper last year.
Macklemore said: “I think that sports define a city. They bring people together.
“It’s really the spirit of the city in so many ways, and to be a part of that new era that is the Kraken, that is the NHL in Seattle, that is the new arena, to do that was a no brainer in terms of the opportunity.
“It’s a big moment for myself, for Marshawn. We’re both super pumped to be involved, for my family and for the future.”
Meanwhile, fellow NHL franchise Pittsburgh Penguins have struck a multi-year jersey patch agreement with Highmark, a non-profit healthcare company part of the US health insurance federation Blue Cross Blue Shield network.
Under the deal, which starts with the 2022-23 season, the Penguins’ home black jerseys will feature a patch measuring 3 inches (7.6cm) by 3.5 inches (8.9cm) with the Highmark name and Blue Cross Blue Shield logo.
The jersey will be worn through the entire season, including preseason and postseason. A separate agreement for the Penguins’ away jerseys will be announced soon.
Under NHL jersey patch rules, which officially begin next season, a maximum of two jersey sponsors are permitted when separate sponsors appear on home and away jerseys.
David Morehouse, the Penguins’ president and chief executive, said: “Stitching the Highmark logo to our home jerseys is a testament to our long-term partnership and an opportunity to showcase this Pittsburgh brand to millions of viewers and social media followers across the world – and especially our fans in attendance at home games at PPG Paints Arena.”
The agreement is one of the first major business deals for the club since its takeover in December by Fenway Sports Group, the parent company of several sports teams including Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox and English Premier League soccer’s Liverpool FC.
The deal follows a similar jersey patch agreement struck by NHL’s Washington Capitals and Caesars Entertainment ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Highmark’s New York state affiliate holds the naming rights to the NFL’s Buffalo Bill's current stadium in Orchard Park, New York, and has the right of first refusal to keep the rights after the team moves to their new stadium in 2026.