Iwakuma Goes National

» 22 April 2009 » In international baseball, npb, sports business »

Hisashi Iwakuma‘s stellar performance in the World Baseball Classic has lead to his first nationwide commercial appearance. Sukiya, a national fastfood chain, will utilize Iwakuma to promote its new prices for their main menu items. Selecting a nationally popular figure on the was the reasoning behind selecting Iwakuma as the face of the company for the forseeable future.

Iwakuma plays in a small home market, Sendai, and even though he was the Sawamura Award winner (top pitcher) in 2008, his marketability did not increase immediately. It was his performance on the international stage that boosted his publicity to a national level.

Although many players use the WBC as an audition for a Major League roster spot, Iwakuma is a great example of how performing on the international stage can lead to other opportunities. The players and manager of the Korean national team are also receiving endorsement opportunities as manager In-Sik Kim, pitcher Hyunjin Ryu, and infielders Tae Kyun Kim, and Bum Ho Lee are featured in an advertisment poster for the Galleria shopping mall. Infielder Dae Ho Lee also captilized on opportunities being the image character for Lotte Milk and Pusan Bank. Ownership companies for Korean teams tend to be more passive toward using their own players as their image character and the decision of utilizing players in this capacity shows how much of an impact the WBC had on Korea as well.

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