New Stadiums: Big Hits & Long Games

» 19 May 2009 » In international baseball, npb, sports business »

With the first home and away series’ finishing for both Central and Pacific leagues, attendance and average game time figures have been made public. The biggest impact is seen at the Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima. I wrote about the Carp’s new stadium in a previous article.

The opening of the new stadium in Hiroshima has generated more than a 91 percent in attendance compared to last season. To take advantage of the impact generated from the new stadium, the Carp has developed memorabilia items for the fans to purchase. Another strategy which caught my eye for the Carp in the early stages of the season is the number of celebrities attending to throw first pitches. Generating news and publicizing the new stadium to different demographics is a great public relations strategy.

Another team which has not been affected by the economic climate is the Seibu Lions, who’ve seen a 33.5 percent increase in attendance compared to this time last season. The stadium, which has been reconstructed with some of the Dice-K money, is creating an atmosphere for the fans to fill in the stand. Both leagues have increased their attendance at this stage of the season and it will be interesting to see how much of an impact the economy will have in the course of the season.

Attendance is a major concern for any sports franchise this season with the economic uncertainty, but another concern for NPB is the average game time. The NPB has tried to reduce the average game time to under three hours and installed a new 15-seconds rule. However the effect has not been seen yet as the Central League average game time has actually increased four minutes.

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