September 19, 2019
  • Rakuten, Inc.
  • La New International Corporation

Rakuten and La New Conclude Basic Agreement on the Transfer of All Shares of Taiwanese Professional Baseball Team “Lamigo Monkeys”

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.

 

Lamigo Monkeys

The Lamigo Monkeys are a professional baseball team founded in 2004, located in Taiwan’s Taoyuan City. The team belongs to Taiwan’s professional baseball league (CPBL) and has won the league six times. The team is popular for its unique initiatives, such as its fan support chants incorporating electronic music and performances by the LamiGirls cheerleading team.

 

Taiwan’s professional baseball league (CPBL)

The league’s official name is the Chinese Professional Baseball League. The forerunner of the league was originally formed in 1989, and this year the league celebrates the 30th anniversary of the start of official games. The league currently has four teams (Lamigo Monkeys, Chinatrust Brothers Baseball, Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions, and Fubon Guardians) and the Weichuan Dragons, a fifth team, will enter the league from the 2020 season. The season is split into two halves, and 120 official games are held a year.

 

Rakuten’s main sports-related initiatives

2004:
Founded Rakuten Baseball, Inc. and received approval from the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the entry of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles into the league
2005:
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles joined the professional baseball league
2009:
Began the ATP Tour’s Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championship
2015:
Acquired all shares of Vissel Kobe and entered the J.League
2016:
Rakuten and FC Barcelona form basic agreement for Rakuten to become FC Barcelona’s Main Global Partner and Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner
2017:
Rakuten becomes an Official EC Platform Partner of the J.League
Rakuten becomes an Official Partner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors
Rakuten becomes the NBA’s Exclusive Broadcast and Distribution Partner in Japan and a Global Marketing Partner
2018:
Rakuten becomes the Global Innovation Partner and Powered by partner of Spartan Race, the world's largest obstacle race and endurance brand
2019:
Rakuten becomes the Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner and Global Presenting Partner for the Davis Cup

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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