Historic Franchise: Yomiuri Giants

» 21 February 2009 » In sports business »

If the Rakuten Golden Eagles are the new blood of Japanese Professional Baseball, the most historic franchise is the Yomiuri Giants. They were and may still be the most popular franchise in Japan with a strong influence from a comic starting at 1966, “Kyojin no Hoshi” which means the Star of the Giants. In the late 1960’s, a famous saying was born. “The three things kids loved most were the Giants, Taihou (Sumo Wrestler), and tamago-yaki (baked egg).

Expanding into Asia has been the new motto for the Giants. With the acquisition of a star Korean player in Seung-Youp Lee before the 2006 season, their popularity in South Korea has exploded. Making most of the opportunity, the Giants established a Korean-language website looking to reach out more to the Korean fans. Another development is leadership in China, where they agreed to a partnership with a professional Chinese team, the Beijing Tigers.

Increasing popularity in other Asian countries is not leading to stability in their own country. The demand for tickets and television coverage has seen a drop and therefore their focus toward sport business is coming around. The Giants announced last July they will add new employees with the possibility hiring of new college graduates, which is still uncommon for Japanese sports teams. Adding quality young blood into the organization might be the step they are looking to take, which can be said on the field as well.

Focus of the Giants is directed toward ticket sales as they are implementing new strategies. They partnered with travel agency JTB and fans will be able to buy Giants home game tickets at any of their 2500 stores around the nation. Another new way for fans to obtain tickets are by their cell phones. People will be able to choose their seats and purchase their tickets 24 hours by phone. New opportunities will be available for fans this upcoming season as the Tokyo Dome will expand their Excite Seat (Field-Level Seating) to 420 from the previous 228.

Popularity may not be a given for the Yomiuri Giants any more. To remain the best off the field, they will need to compete with new strategies in order to remain the leaders of Japanese professional Baseball.

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