sports

Abe's new plan to beat deflation: more baseball teams

54 Comments
By Junko Fujita

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54 Comments
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Geeze. Harebrained.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The overseas investors will surely be impressed by the boldness of the Abenomics 3rd arrow - more baseball teams to grow regional economies. ( never mind the accelerating decrease in regional population ). That's some serious reform minded thinking right there. The future with Abenomics is looking bright indeed.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Unless there are companies that are willing to sponsor the new teams, this could be difficult

That Japanese teams are so closely associated with their corporate owners has always bothered me. I can't imagine the MLB being nearly as fun to follow if a corporation had the identity presence on a team as it does in Japan. I shudder to imagine if the NPB rules were followed in the MLB... "Google Giants," the "Nabisco Athletics," the "Chevrolet Tigers." Who would ever want to root for them? Not to mention all the corporate logos & trademarks that dominate the Japanese baseball helmets and uniforms. I'm biased of course but I think there would be more of a following in Japanese baseball if the teams did like they do in the MLB and emphasize their association with a geographic region rather than drowning their identity under corporate sponsorship.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Japan should expand their league and rename it "Pacific Rim Baseball League", which includes teams from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China. There will be more interest and revenue for each teams. Yes, forget the corporate name and use the city name only. But your talking about Japan. It will not happen.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

“Unless there are companies that are willing to sponsor the new teams, this could be difficult,”

BOJ may come forward and take yet another bold step and sponsor the new teams (!)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When considering Japan's plethora of problems that need urgent addressing, yep I can see that government intervention in a sport is defiantly a welcome and needed step forward for the whole country.

Sflp330 think auto correct kicked in, you ment Pacific Rimming Baseball League?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How does he do it?

Does he think up these brilliant ideas all by himself?

Luring foreign business talent to Tokyo, Abenomics and now the solution to placating Okinawans angry at having yet more of their island used for yet another huge US base.

"Give 'em baseball! That'll keep 'em quiet!"

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Admittedly for a country with 126 million or so people I think it's a bit odd that there are so few professional baseball teams. But I suspect that all that will happen is that the relevant people will just mumble on a bit about carefully studying the proposal, before totally forgetting about it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The overseas investors will surely be impressed by the boldness of the Abenomics 3rd arrow - more baseball teams to grow regional economies. ( never mind the accelerating decrease in regional population ). That's some serious reform minded thinking right there. The future with Abenomics is looking bright indeed.

mardelito -- spot on. Obviously, describing the Abe economics team as a "braintrust" is really stretching it. Maybe they could have added having Japan land on Mars as another element.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The Abe Damp Squibs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

professional teams survive in Japan because losses can be treated as tax-deductible marketing costs for corporate sponsor

Is this true?? Is that why the Yokohama BayStars aka the worst team in Japanese baseball continue to operate???

0 ( +1 / -1 )

MLB applauds you, Abe. -Signed Commissioner Bud Selig.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Basically, all suggestions are to lower taxes on corporations, and increase taxes on people.

An equally ineffective solution might be to sell all the corporations, and divvy up all the proceeds among the people, who would then have enough to live on without the jobs that the corporations provide. This would eliminate salarymen, improve family relationships, increase the populations, etc.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yes, forget the corporate name and use the city name only. But your talking about Japan. It will not happen.

Exactly, he talks about

“Prosperous baseball teams could strengthen attachment to regional cities and help local economies thrive,”

But, the name of the city or region isn't even in the name? Obviously like others predict this has nothing to do with local economies but the big corporations that sponsor them.

And an added note, from what I hear Shizuoka is more of a soccer prefecture, the locals are very much in support of the local teams, so not sure if having baseball would make all that big of a difference.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are days you think Japanese politicians can't surprise you any more with their stupidity ... and then they do.

What in the world is this man thinking now? First of all, back when there were only 16 teams the U.S. population in 1960 was 179 million; today, with 30 teams it's 317 million people. Where is Japan's equivalent population growth over the same period? Plus, regional centers like Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, San Diego, etc., were growing and could support new teams; they weren't shrinking like Japan's hinterlands. Plus, the major leagues expanded to another country when they put teams in Montreal and Toronto -- is that going to happen here? PLUS, the major leagues could draw from a talent base that included players from the Caribbean, Central and South America, and now Asia and Oceania. Does Abe also intend to allow Japanese teams to field as many foreigners as they like, or are there still going to be caps on how many non-Japanese can be on the team at one time?

It's only May, but I'm nominating this for dumbest stunt of the year.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Abe grasping at straws as reality of his stupid ideas slap him upside the head.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think they had a lot of fun thinking this up at the local hostess bar.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

sigh Japanese politicians really don't have a clue.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is smart politics, straddling economics and the all-important "cultural" aspect. Japanese will understand this, and get behind it, and it will boost Abe's popularity. Smart move!

Now if he can get broadcasters to give more TV time to show not only the most important games, that will be a big help. TV coverage has shrunk markedly for baseball since the busting of the Japanese economic bubble, and interest has flagged. Also, stations are such schedule fanatics, if a game runs long, they stop broadcasting no matter how many people are tuned in. It's not the most baseball- friendly culture.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Face palm. Expanding a league that, despite having all the resources necessary to be massively succesful (huge fan base concentrated in large cities, big stadiums, money, talent pool, etc) has managed to be so incompetently run as a business that almost all of its top players are just biding their time until they can escape to the US.

I mean, these morons can`t even get the TV stations to broadcast their games all the way to the end. How is giving them even more money to incompetently squander going to do anything to help the broader economy?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

facepalm. As if Abenomics wasn't bad enough.
2 ( +3 / -1 )

Insane !

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Just a distraction and entertainment to fellow citizens. Its abenomics (spend more) more stadium, more construction, more viewers, more ticket sales, franchise sale, popcorn sale, TV sale? But the question still remains, how will this boost economy? totally distraction, while govt hampers J-ecomony !!!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I can't stand going to JP baseball games with the never-ending mindless clapping and noise making that never ever lets up. Compare this to the very enjoyable times I had watching baseball games in San Francisco where there was good food, nice seats and the crowd was polite and not making obnoxious noise the whole game but only when there was a good play made. I literally will get a headache in 10 minutes of a JP baseball game.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Bread and Circuses?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Trying to keep the masses busy to detract attention from real issues

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I would not be surprised at all to read that Abe came up with this idea by doing the following--He asked one of his underlings to find out how many major league baseball teams existed in the USA when its population was the same as Japan's current population of 127 million. The USA's population hit 127 million in about 1935, and there were 16 MLB teams in existence then, as opposed to 30 now.

Is this a logical way to conclude that 16 top-level teams is ideal for a country of 127 million? No, but I'm guessing that's how Abe came up with the number.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

How about having health insurance pay 100% of prenatal, birth and post natal care? More children, no empty schools, and best of all, MORE FUTURE TAXPAYERS AND CONSUMERS.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

noriyosan73: Health insurance plus local ward office benefits already pay more than 100% of prenatal, birth and post natal care. National health insurance is free for all children upto the age of 15.

Granted if you have any compilations I'm not sure what happens there, but under normal situations everything is free. I even made money on my first child because benefits exceeded the hospital bill.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Prosperous baseball teams

Lol! Abe's living with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Well, I know that with all of the millions of disposable income that I have thanks to Abenomics, I will be sure to jet all around Japan in order to support new baseball teams for all their games. Surely others would do the same with all of their cash thats piled up under their futons or in JA banks.

Goodness...he has really lost touch with reality, hasn't he. Maybe if his idea is turned down, he will turn to the ever so popular AKB approach. One for every region, no...city....no, even better...TOWN! Then they all can compete with their mini-skirts and bring all the money in. Blah.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Abe continues to reine the word "moron".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So this will be the new Abenomics? Reminds me somehow of the old Roman Empire times: bread and games! That's all we need, right .... well, maybe instead of just bread some rice? As long as he and his legions can feast! Of course using our money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I always thought Japan should have more teams, especially in plases that there are currently no teams. However, I think the government should stay out of it and also eliminate tax write offs. Most pro teams in the States are profitable or make a profit when they sell the team. Japanese teams need to either swim or sink.

There are a lot of excellent Japanese baseball players and they should have more place to shine, either here or overseas. Teams could make a lot of money selling their players to the majors

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Abenomics to the side and just thinking about the future of Japanese baseball, NPB should reduce the number of teams to about 6 (Hokkaido, Tohoku, Tokyo, Kansai, Chugoku and Kyushu) and become part of the MLB. A constant flow of MLB teams comming and going through Japan throughout the season with Japanese team constantly touring America. Now wouldn't be exciting?! No such thing as "losing" Japanese players to the Majors. Japanese team would be part of the Majors.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Only 20 million plus attendance? LA Angels has more than 3.2 billion, LA Dodgers has more than 2.8 billion, Yankees has more than 4.2 billion attendance a year. Sorry @Frank Thornton: MLB teams will not waste travel money to go to Japan with such low attendance beside they are not used to play in tiny fields.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Only 20 million plus attendance? LA Angels has more than 3.2 billion, LA Dodgers has more than 2.8 billion, Yankees has more than 4.2 billion attendance a year

@toshko, millions not billions in attendance. LA Angels 3.2bn / 81 home games = 39.5mil in attendance per game.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@jusa: You are right. Dodgers had 3.8 million. NY 4.2 million. Those teams have 50,000 seats. Tonight, Tanaka lost (Spot news). 6-1 and sport caster said Chicago swingers were hitting Tanaka pitches. Anyway, Abe should discard this idea. He forgot USA people. even poor, spend money going to baseball games but Japanese people are not suckers. Pop corn, ice cream all overpriced/ then souvenir T shirts, caps, pants, Angels had pink shoes sales. then T-shirts with different player names.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ticket and merchandise sales are directly (and positively) affected by strong TV contracts. When we're able to see all the games on TV, our interest and emotional connection increases, and we want to be at the stadium and buying stuff. If it's never on TV, then it falls out of our minds. The die-hard fans are going to go to the stadium TV or no TV. The goal is bringing in more casual fans, people who would buy tickets if there's a lot of public buzz about it, but wouldn't buy tickets if no one talked or cared or knew about it.

Also: I think NPB teams would do well to sell their merchandise through 3rd party vendors more. If you can find the local team's hat in the department store, that's more visibility and more catering to casual fans who might not otherwise be coaxed into to the stadium.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Third arrow, eh? More like third strike.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Old Abe is batting like 1000 for stupid ideas!!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Baseball fans in areas with no pro team are supposed to support the Giants as Yomiuri originally intended by conspiring with other broadcasters back in the fifties to show only their games nationally and thereby create an extremely profitable industry. In fact, up until the public got fed up with it all a few years ago, it was like a total conspiracy that also included newspapers (also owned by the broadcasters), the other team owners and even the umpires.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

zootmoney: it was like a total conspiracy that also included newspapers (also owned by the broadcasters), the other team owners and even the umpires

Other team owners and umpires? Really? I'm a Giants hater so I enjoy the theory, but is there any proof of this?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Actually, what Abe intends to play here if dodge ball, rather baseball. He is out of his depth and wit a long time ago to come with a third whisker (not arrow). So he simply dodges.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm with Abe on this one -- I think that it's a great idea!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If his idea works, hope Japanese person or corporation creates new teams in various area so that their income stay in Japan, Are there many sport channels in Japan that will earn ad income between innings?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@FizzBit -----Hail Caesar! "Panem et Circensus", Bread and Circus's, Shinzō Abe's 'Marcus Aurelius' is up there for an honorary award at Japan's Academy. Okinawa 'come on down'.......more archery from Abe san this time countering the political consequences of the long-planned relocation of a U.S. military base. Political camouflaging behind four additional baseball franchises will require Harry Potter wand and a correct pronounced spell, where's Hermione Granger when you need her?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@itsonlyrocknroll

Maybe we need to get the US military to sponsor a team. Itsonlyrocknroll, could you start facilitating that ASAP. Lord knows you have the imagination to make the right pitch to Abe. I'm sure he wouldn't balk at the idea since he's such a lead off man. This could really be a home run for Abenomics.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

First off, the headline is completely off-base, if you'll pardon the pun: this is one of Abe's plans to revive the economy and has nothing to do with deflation, which refers to lower consumer prices. One of the reasons you're so detested and distrusted, Mr. Abe, is that you try to trick us into thinking that economic prosperity and inflation are the same thing, which they are most emphatically not.

As for baseball... I agree that more baseball teams in cities which don't yet have them would be good for local morale. Sapporo got a big boost when the Fighters moved up there, as did Fukuoka with the Hawks and now Sendai with the Eagles. Only 30 years ago the Tokyo and Osaka areas had more than half of all the NPB franchises. Shikoku has never had one and should be given a shot. A team in Okinawa would do wonders for the economy there.

And they wouldn't have to worry about a dilution in talent if they aggressively imported players from other countries and put the ugly foreign-player limits far behind them.

But as a baseball fan who wants to see Japanese leagues do well, I think the real solution is to align with Taiwan and Korea and have an amalgamated league of about 24 teams , the champion of which would be determinde by a playoff between the two Japanese leagues, the KBO, and Taiwan's CPBL. Mainland China, where baseball is developing rapidly, could also be worked in. Baseball knows no borders! The US major leagues have been international since 1969 and its minor leagues have been so since the 1870s (when the US/Canada spanning International League was founded).

Of course, I can't see Japanese players cheerfully accepting being traded to the Samsung Lions and playing in Korea all year long. Still, something to dream about!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

While the idea that a handful of baseball teams can revive an economy is absurd, the lack of professional baseball teams in a country of 120m people has always stuck me as absurd, and indicative of restrictive practices ("no, not in Japan, never!").

Baseball is supposedly the country's top spectator sport, yet it gets by on a handful of teams. If the J-League can muster 2 leagues with 20-odd teams each, then baseball can manage a few more than 12 teams.

Of course the current 12 do not want competition - it means less television receipts and possibly fewer gate receipts. The fact that the leagues are closed to new entrants prevents new clubs from being set up.

All very cosy, all very Japanese.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And in support of creating these new teams, and to assist their helping to inspire growth in the Japanese economy, the Japanese government of course will earmark a few trillion yen of the taxpayers money (borrowed at interest) to fund the building of new baseball stadiums. Contracts will be awarded to Mitsubishi, Mitsui, et al, who of course will provide comfortable positions for the politicians who negotiated the contract agreements.

If there were room for more professional baseball teams in Japan, they would have been formed already.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

sangetsu03, yep, that is (of course) the real story. Abe wants to gift even vaster sums of borrowed public money to right-wing construction companies who support his agenda. He wants to "spur growth" as he likes to call it by flinging more borrowed funds at unnecessary construction projects. This has no connection to deflation, but Abe rightly believes that most Japanese people have absolutely no idea what the terms inflation or deflation really mean.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is not a bad idea if a group of wealthy people or corporations create a team. Of cause a lot of investment by them because it has to obtain land, build stadium, etc. Maybe jobs for local people who get employed in stadium,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ThonTaddeoMAY. 21, 2014 - 09:39PM JST But as a baseball fan who wants to see Japanese leagues do well, I think the real solution is to align with Taiwan and Korea and have an amalgamated league of about 24 teams , the champion of which would be determinde by a playoff between the two Japanese leagues, the KBO, and Taiwan's CPBL. Mainland China, where baseball is developing rapidly, could also be worked in. Baseball knows no borders!

That would be awesome if was ever worked. out. I guess we can only dream!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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