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BayStars acquire Yokohama Stadium operator

Kyodo

The Yokohama BayStars will make the operator of Yokohama Stadium its consolidated subsidiary, the Central League team announced Thursday following the completion of the takeover bid a day earlier.

The team began its tender offer on Nov. 24 and acquired 71.12 percent of voting rights for ¥7.43 billion ($63.7 million) in total, giving it a 76.87 percent stake of Yokohama Stadium Co. It will become the club’s subsidiary next Thursday.

The BayStars are currently undertaking a phased revamp of their home ground called “Community Ballpark Project” modeled on those of major league clubs, and BayStars president Jun Ikeda suggested using funds from the increased revenue to strengthen the team after the completion of the renovation.

“I’d like to thank many people. It’ll be a shakeup,” said Ikeda on the move that will see the management of the club and its home ground integrated. It will help improve the financial performance of the BayStars’ baseball operations that have been in the red, with advertising revenues that flowed to the stadium operator now going to the club.

By running Yokohama Stadium, the BayStars will also have fewer obstacles for making further major upgrades in the future.

If it proves successful, the BayStars’s scheme could trigger a similar movement to that of the United States in the 1990s that followed the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Park by the Baltimore Orioles in 1992.

The Orioles opted for a brick-walled exterior and natural grass when artificial grass was dominant in the nation upon rebuilding their home ground, before many of the other clubs followed suit to build retro stadiums themselves.

The renovation of Yokohama Stadium will only shift into full swing after next year, but the color of the seats for home fans area will turn to BayStars’ blue from current orange this year, according to Ikeda.