Tokyo, September 19, 2019 – Rakuten, Inc. and La New International Corporation (La New) announced that the two companies have concluded a basic agreement in which all shares held by La New in Lamigo Monkeys Co. (Lamigo), the La New subsidiary that manages the Taiwanese professional baseball team the Lamigo Monkeys, will be transferred to Rakuten. Through this share purchase, Rakuten plans to enter Taiwan’s professional baseball league (CPBL) from the 2020 season.
The Lamigo Monkeys are one of the leading teams in the CPBL, having won the annual league six times since La New began managing the team in 2004, including back-to-back wins in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The team is also one of the most popular in the league, attracting fans through unique and innovative management initiatives, and has set the record for the highest fan attendance in the Taiwan professional baseball league for five consecutive years since 2014.
Rakuten’s entry into Japanese professional baseball took place in 2005 with the entry to the Japan professional baseball league (NPB) of the newly formed Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Rakuten aims to leverage its experience in the field of sports to not only strengthen the Lamigo Monkeys, but also contribute to the development of Taiwanese professional baseball and the local region.
In Taiwan, Rakuten operates a wide variety of businesses, including e-commerce, credit card, and eBooks, and is working to develop the local Rakuten Ecosystem. Preparations are also underway for the launch of a banking service in FY2020. By entering into Taiwan’s professional baseball league, Rakuten expects to dramatically increase awareness of the Rakuten brand, accelerate the growth of its services and further strengthen its ecosystem in Taiwan.
La New entered professional baseball in Taiwan with the formation of the La New Bears in the 2004 season. After moving its home ground to Taoyuan City from the 2011 season, the team was renamed the Lamigo Monkeys. With its close connections to the local community, the Lamigo Monkeys have been a leader in Taiwanese baseball for 16 seasons. The decision to transfer the shares to Rakuten was made to leverage the company’s experience in running a baseball team in Japan to further develop the team and professional baseball in Taiwan.
Rakuten’s entry into professional baseball in Taiwan is set to be formally approved at the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) Executives Meeting. The new team name, uniform, and logo will be revealed at a later date.