Although it is too hard to predict the future, the Japan men’s professional hoop circuit has made steady growth since its inception in September 2016.
The B. League revealed its latest financial results in a news conference at its office on Thursday, saying that the operating revenue of the entire league for the 2017-18 season increased to ¥19.5 billion, up more than 30 percent from its inaugural campaign.
“We think that the increase in the ticket sales, sponsors and the number of fans that actually paid for the tickets contributed to it,” B. League chairman Masaaki Okawa said. “We believe that more people have become sympathetic to the values of the B. League.”
Most of the clubs’ accounting periods end in June, which follows the conclusion of the season. But several, especially those that were owned by large manufacturers during the semi-professional JBL/NBL days such as the Alvark Tokyo and Kawasaki Brave Thunders, have it in March. So the financial affairs of the teams can’t be compared perfectly, but the balance sheets are still able to indicate who are doing well and who are doing poorly.
The Chiba Jets Funabashi took the No. 1 spot in operating income at ¥1.427 billion. The Osaka Evessa were at the top of the list with ¥1.169 billion last year. Only two clubs, Osaka and the Tochigi Brex, topped the ¥1 billion threshold for the 2016-17 season, but six teams (Chiba, the SeaHorses Mikawa, Osaka, Tochigi, the Alvark and Kawasaki) exceeded the mark for the second campaign.
The Jets, who drew more than 5,000 fans per home contest last season, made ¥340 million from ticket sales, which was the best figure in the league. Tochigi was No. 2 with ¥336 million.
In the second division, the Akita Northern Happinets generated the most income with ¥611 million. (Akita moved up to the top flight this season.)
The overall net profit of all first- and second-division clubs was ¥520 million (¥380 million in B1 and ¥140 million in B2).
But not all the clubs are not on the right track. Some teams are facing serious financial risks.
The Fukushima Firebonds, Gunma Crane Thunders, Kanazawa Samuraiz and Bambitious Nara, who are B2 teams, are in a state of insolvency. The four clubs and the Shimane Susanoo Magic and Nishinomiya Storks had deficits for the second consecutive season.
When a club comes up with deficits for three straight years, its license to compete in its current division will be suspended by the league and the team will be get demoted to a lower division.
“First and foremost, those clubs will have to be in the black in a single fiscal year,” Okawa insisted, urging them to do better in the ongoing 2018-19 season. “Otherwise, they are going to go out of business.”
The league has dispatched its staff to those teams to offer assistance in order to help them improve their financial situations.
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