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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  1. Ryo
    20/05/2009 at 3:52 pm Permalink

    It is nice for the teams that attendance is up, but for those of us who do not make it out to the stadiums often and watch most games on TV shorter games would be much appreciated. Specifically, I would like to see all games finish in under 2 hours and 54 minutes since most broadcasts end at 8:54. This may come as a surprise to TV and baseball executives, but I think I speak for many fans when I say that the 8th and 9th innings are the most interesting parts of most games and I would like to watch them once in a while.

  2. Ryo
    20/05/2009 at 4:48 pm Permalink

    Yeah, I used to hate that when I was living in Japan.

  3. Ryo
    22/05/2009 at 3:18 am Permalink

    Some TV broadcasts have shifted their time slot for baseball games this season as I noticed some broadcasts starting(!) at 8pm and going till the end of the game. Not sure which is better. They should really be showing the entire game but that goes without saying.

  4. Ryo
    22/05/2009 at 7:56 am Permalink

    When I was living in the Osaka area, the Hanshin games would go until 8:54 on an Osaka channel, and then switch over to some uhf Kyoto station to show the end. Maybe the Kyoto station had the whole game on, I’m not sure. I always used to watch the beginning on the main Osaka station.

    Kintetsu Buffaloes games were shown on tape delay around midnight, which I liked because then I could watch two baseball games. I don’t recall ever seeing an Orix Blue Wave game on local tv there.

  5. Ryo
    22/05/2009 at 4:41 pm Permalink

    Here in Hokkaido, Ham games are shown on a variety of channels with different policies. Sometimes we get to see the end of a game. The one rule that all the broadcasters seem to have agreed upon, though, is that no channel shall show Ham when Darvish is pitching. We almost never get to see him or Yagi. Whenever a game is on TV, it is Sweeney or Fujii or Takeda. Last night, our genius manager, Nashida, threw the TV execs a curve by not starting Darvish in his usual Friday night slot (cleverly using Fujii so that Ham could lose a close game to Yakult that Daravish surely would have won), meaning that Darvish will start today instead (I think) when the game may be on television. I must go outside and get my newspaper from the mailbox and check the schedule.