With its sophomore season set to get underway Friday, the B. League held a regular general assembly to select board members and auditors for a new two-year term, and approved them in a temporary board of directors meeting on Wednesday.
Masaaki Okawa, the inaugural chairman of the men’s top basketball circuit, was re-elected, while nine others were also reappointed to the governing board as trustees.
Among those who will serve their second term include Japan Basketball Association senior managing director Michihiro Tanaka, JBA technical director Tomoya Higashino, Ryukyu Golden Kings president Tatsuro Kimura and Alvark Tokyo president Kunihiko Hayashi.
Meanwhile, Shinji Shimada, president of the Chiba Jets Funabashi, who has developed the club into one of the most popular teams in the league with his prominent managerial skills, has become vice chairman. The league’s secretary general Kazumasa Ashihara, who previously worked for the NPB’s Orix Buffaloes and Yokohama DeNA BayStars, was appointed as the managing director of the new board.
The league expects Shimada to demonstrate what he’s done in his position with the Jets, who led the league with an average attendance of 4,501 per game last year.
The 46-year-old Shimada, whose Jets had a pretax profit of over ¥38 million and were in the black for the sixth consecutive season for the 2016-17 campaign, has hosted private tutoring meetings for executives of other clubs about how they should run their teams.
“The league is a collection of the clubs,” Shimada said at a Tokyo news conference. “I would say that the growth of the clubs is more important than anything else.”
The new governing board will have six newly-elected trustees. The biggest name among them is Japanese hoops legend Takehiko Orimo, a 47-year-old shooting guard who is also the president of the Levanga Hokkaido.
“I’m serving as the president and a player for the Levanga Hokkaido, and now I’m becoming a three-way person as opposed to a two-way person,” Orimo said. “I feel scared about the volume of work that I’ll have to deal with, but I’ll do the best I can (as a director). I would like to speak up from the position of a player to help the B. League make further growth.”
As an interesting choice, Yasuko Miyajima, a veteran female sports commentator for TV Asahi, also became a new board member.
Okawa said he expects board members to not mince words and say whatever they think will benefit the league.
The league kicked off in a lavish way in its first year last season. But Okawa said it would look to make steady growth in order to develop into a more sturdy professional sports league in its second year. The league has set goals to upgrade both its attendance and revenue figures by 10 percent from last year.
Okawa said one of the goals for the second year would be to raise people’s recognition level for the clubs across the nation.