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Ham Fighters departure to hit Sapporo Dome

The departure of the Japanese Professional Baseball (NPB) team the Nippon-Ham Fighters will result in the baseball-related revenues at the Sapporo Dome being halved.

This is based on figures calculated by Sapporo Dome Co., Ltd, the city-invested operator of the venue.

The Sapporo Dome is one of the largest multifunctional venues in Japan with a capacity of 53,845 (for concerts) and 41,484 (sporting events) respectively.

The annual turnover of the Sapporo Dome has been around JPY 4 billion (£29 million) for most of the past decade or so but the new report, cited by Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper, predicts the figure will be in the region of JPY 1.8 billion (£13 million) after the Fighters relocate to the nearby city of Kita Hiroshima in 2023.

The operator says they will ask the J-League Division 1 football club, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, to play more matches at the venue once the baseball team’s move away is completed.

But the Dome is still poised to lose heavily and a JPY 300 million (£2.17 million) deficit every year is predicted.

In FY2018, the Fighters played 62 games and paid between JPY 7.7 million (£55,800) and JPY 15.4 million (£111,620) per game to Sapporo Dome Co.,Ltd  as the gameday venue fee.

The operator also receives fees from all stadium advertisement sponsorship deals as well as F&B and merchandise sales, meaning that an annual income of approx. JPY 1.3 billion (£9.4 million) came directly from the baseball team alone.

The operator predicts that they will lose around JPY 2 billion (£14.5 million) every year as the direct consequence of the Fighters not playing at the Dome.

Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo, on the other hand, played 13 of their home matches at the Sapporo Dome which also hosted concerts for nine days in total last year.

The operator revealed that, after the Fighters move out in 2023, they will ask the football team to play all of their home matches, and try to host more events including major concerts at the venue.

There is also a plan to introduce partitions to divide the indoor space to host smaller events with a reduced capacity of around 20,000.

The operator recognises, however, that they will eventually have to come up with new ideas to generate their own revenue streams when life after baseball begins.

News provided by the Stadium Hub.