Japan Baseball Season Delayed

Like the United States, Japan did not make the best decisions to contain the corona virus. With an increase in cases recently a state of emergency was put in place for seven prefectures that included Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka and Yokohama. One of the conditions of the state of emergency was to discourage large sporting events. Many of the baseball teams from the NPB play in those areas so playing baseball there would not be possible.

It is expected that baseball will not start in Japan until at least June 11 and possibly no earlier than July. A meeting of NPB executives is scheduled for May 11 when they will discuss the start of their season. It is unclear how much time teams will need to prepare for the season. Exhibition games in Japan were being played with no fans.

Myworld has been to all of the stadiums in Japan, except for Nippon, which is located in Hokkaido. All the stadiums are just a bullet train away. The Nippon Ham Fighters are a plane ride away. Soon there may be more stadiums to see.

Japan is talking about expanding, especially to areas outside Tokyo to grow the game and provide more opportunities for people outside the Tokyo area to watch baseball. Some places they are looking at include Okinawa (where they play most of their spring training games), Nigata, Matsuyama and Shizuoka. Some of the proposed conditions that must be met in order to expand include:

1) There must be a home stadium available that is dedicated to baseball
2) Ownership (stockholders) must be at least 51 Japanese
3) a team needs to be able to pay a $30 million start up fee
4) and once all those requirements are met, 75 percent of the teams must vote for approval

It appears expansion may be a couple years away, but with the lack of a full season the economic costs may require a surge of capital and what better source of revenue than expansion.

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