Okinawa mulls establishing professional baseball team
As one of the Liberal Democratic Party’s proposals for the government growth strategy and regional activation plan, an idea of increasing the number of pro baseball teams in Japan from 12 to 16. The idea was made public on May 22.
According to reports, regions that do not have a baseball teams such as Shizuoka Prefecture, Hokushinetsu (Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Nagano and Niigata Prefecture), Shikoku regions (Awa, Tosa, Sanuki and Iyo Islands) and Okinawa, are discussing of requesting support from the government to start teams.
The LDP draft report, in which the idea is put forward, cites the successful experience of the U.S. Major League Baseball that has increased the number of teams from 16 to 30 since the ‘60’s as a model.
However, many experts doubt that the U.S. model could work in Japan. The big difference is that in the U.S. the teams are attached to cities they call home, whereas in Japan, all teams in both leagues are sponsored by corporations, which can treat the monetary losses of the teams as tax-deductible marketing costs