Swine Flu Effect

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

As we all are aware by now, the swine flu epidemic is causing problems all around the world and is even affecting baseball and baseball fans in Japan. Along with the economic climate, the flu epidemic will be another problem teams will need to fight through during the season to maintain their attendance.

The most immediate loss caused by the outbreak will be the sale of jet balloons. One of the traditions in Japanese baseball, especially at Koshien Stadium is the jet balloons that fans shoot during the 7th inning stretch and after a victory. The risk has gotten too big to allow the fans to continue the tradition and three teams have already prohibited the use and sales of jet balloons in the ballpark including the Hanshin Tigers.

Cautious fans are protecting themselves by wearing masks at the game and players are also doing the same while traveling on the road. Despite this, NPB has not yet taken the measure of actually cancelling games. NPB may need to prepare for the worst, if the situation does not improve, as many sporting events and concerts have already been cancelled in Japan.

Tigers fans who have already purchased tickets are asking for refunds at Koshien Stadium. The longer the swine flu is around, the more it will affect the game of baseball.

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  1. Ryo
    20/05/2009 at 7:36 am Permalink

    I just came back from the Seibu/Chunichi game @ Seibu Dome (the March 20th game) and they set off the jet balloons during the 7th as usual.

    There was however, a sign and a small table with hand sanitizer at the entrance right after you got into the park and sign in the restrooms reminding people of hygiene and whatnot. So take this for what it is I guess.

  2. Ryo
    20/05/2009 at 10:43 am Permalink

    They set off the balloons in Chiba tonight as well. Only difference here was an announcement about washing your hands; otherwise, business as usual.

    I sure hope they don’t cancel any games. I have tickets + train reservations for a road trip to Koshien on Saturday….

  3. Ryo
    20/05/2009 at 2:40 pm Permalink

    Thank you for the information guys. The prohibition of the jet balloons have been announced in Koshien Stadium (Hanshin Tigers), Jingyu Stadium (Tokyo Yakult Swallows) and the Fukuoka Yahoo Dome (Softbank Hawks). Also the Chiba Lotte Marines has announced today to prohibit the sales of jet balloons which will be in effect from the 22nd against the Dragons.

  4. Ryo
    20/05/2009 at 3:39 pm Permalink

    Fortunately for Hokkadio baseball fans, Nippon Ham does not do the jet balloons. We have only the “Inaba jump”, which not only does not contribute to the spread of swine flu but actually makes fans healthier by forcing them put down their beers and cup noodles to stand up and exercise.