Taipei, December 17, 2019 – Rakuten, Inc., a global leader in internet services headquartered in Tokyo, today announced that the Lamigo Monkeys, the professional Taiwanese baseball team the company is acquiring from La New International Corporation, will be renamed the “Rakuten Monkeys.” The team will begin operating under the new name from the 2020 season.
The new logo, uniforms and branding of the Rakuten Monkeys to be used from the 2020 Chinese Professional Baseball League season were also unveiled, along with a variety of new sports merchandise.
Rakuten also announced today the new management team of the Rakuten Monkeys. Yozo Tachibana, Vice President of Rakuten’s Sports Business and Representative Director, President and CEO of Rakuten Baseball, Inc., has been appointed President, bringing on board his extensive sports business management experience. Takashi Watanabe, COO of Rakuten Asia has been appointed as CEO, while Justin Liu and Yoshinori Kawada will serve as General Managers, and Roger Pu and Tomoyuki Oishi as Deputy General Managers of the team, bringing together business talent from the Rakuten Group and preserving the valuable local team management strengths.
“I am thrilled to unveil Rakuten Monkeys as the new name of Taiwan’s most iconic baseball team. Rakuten’s strong commitment to sports partnerships originated with baseball in Japan and we are very excited about this opportunity to contribute to the growth and ongoing success of professional baseball in Taiwan,” said Mickey Mikitani, Chairman and CEO of Rakuten. “Our collaboration with the newly rebranded Rakuten Monkeys also sets the stage to connect with more customers in Taiwan through our expanding Rakuten services, including e-commerce, travel, card, digital content and soon-to-launch online banking.”
Founded in 2004, the Rakuten Monkeys are based in Taoyuan City, and play their home games at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium. The team has been Taiwan Series Champions seven times and is Taiwan’s most successful professional baseball team from the past decade.
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 is also globally recognized for its partnerships with sporting icons such as FC Barcelona, the Golden State Warriors and the NBA, and its ownership of J.League professional soccer team Vissel Kobe. The company has also served as the title sponsor of the Association of Tennis Professionals Rakuten Japan Open since 2009 and is the Global Innovation and Entertainment Partner and Global Presenting Partner of the Davis Cup.
Rakuten aims to leverage its experience in the field of sports to not only strengthen the Rakuten Monkeys, but also contribute to the development of Taiwanese professional baseball and the local region.
Since entry to the Taiwan market in 2008, Rakuten has expanded operations to include e-commerce, credit card, and eBooks. Preparations are also underway for the launch of online banking services. By entering into Taiwan’s professional baseball league, Rakuten expects to dramatically increase awareness of the Rakuten brand and accelerate the growth of the Rakuten ecosystem in Taiwan, providing customers with a broad range of convenient services.