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Volume 10 No. 25


Japanese professional baseball team Yokohama DeNA BayStars is releasing an illustrated book of business ideas that it hopes will be applicable beyond sport. Entitled "Tsugi no Yakyu" (Next Baseball), the book will go on sale on Thursday for 1,300 yen ($12.80), and contains 143 ideas selected from more than 600 proposed by players, coaches and staff at the club. The BayStars had originally printed 300 copies in January as a manual for internal use. BayStars spokesperson Jun Kusumoto told SBD Global, "Poplar Publishers, who were producing the book for us, suggested that we put it on sale to the public as many of the ideas could be used not just for baseball, but in other businesses too." BayStars increased average attendances by 22% to 19,801 last year, despite finishing fifth in the six-team Central League. Promotional activities included a luxury "One Million Yen Ticket," which gave four fans premium seats, limousine pick-up and accommodation in a nearby five star hotel, and garnered a lot of publicity for the club. Other changes included the introduction of a Major League-style concourse at its home Yokohama Stadium. Kusumoto: "The book contains all new ideas that might be able to move the club forward, though there is no guarantee that they will all work."
Gavin Blair is a writer in Tokyo.

A New South Wales Supreme Court judge has "rejected an application" to have the Balmain Leagues Club, which bankrolls National Rugby League side Wests Tigers, "placed into receivership," according to Leo Shanahan of THE AUSTRALIAN. The matter will "return to court later next week with a hearing date on whether the club should be placed into receivership likely to be heard in the coming months." In what could be a "final death knell" for Rugby League side Balmain Tigers and its involvement with the Wests Tigers franchise, the "department of planning" announced on Thursday that it would "reject the proposal put forward by developers Rozelle Village to redevelop the club site into a high rise retail and residential building" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/19). In Sydney, Dean Ritchie reported Wests Tigers CEO Grant Mayer said that the club "will survive, the famous Tigers logo is here to stay and the current issue before the court involving the Balmain Leagues Club won't drag the football club down into oblivion." The "roaring Tiger will stay on the Tigers jumper for the next 15 years, despite Balmain's financial crisis" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/19).

Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian Manager Gary Locke admitted that he "still fears the Gorgie club might not escape their administration hell," according to the PA. Hearts supporters group the Foundation of Hearts "is waiting on final permission from the club's Lithuanian owners to sign off on" a £2.5M ($4.1M) rescue package that "will see millionaire businesswoman Ann Budge take control." But Locke admitted that "he is growing increasingly concerned at the silence coming from Kaunas." He said, "It could collapse -- but I pray that does not happen." Budge, who reportedly made £40M from the sale of her IT firm in '05, "will only complete the deal to take the Hearts out of administration once creditors to the club's majority shareholder UBIG finally give it the thumbs up." While administrators BDO fight to push that deal through, Locke "faces the prospect that if his team fail to beat Dundee United on Friday night, they could be relegated on their own ground by city rivals Hibernian a week later" (PA, 3/19).

Liga MX side Querétaro said that Mexico's Attorney General (PGR) "confirmed that the club will go under administration," according to LA AFICION. Querétaro Owner Amado Yáñez's company, Oceanografia, is "facing a government investigation and has had its headquarters seized." The club said that "despite the assurance of the PGR, the team and its employees will continue to operate as usual." Querétaro's statement said, "The club has been required to undergo ministerial diligence by the PGR, which will include administration of the club and and its identity. The club will continue to operate in the same way in athletics and administration that it has until now. Mexico's Asset Management & Disposition Agency (SAE) will at some point assign Querétaro a sole administrator" (LA AFICION, 3/18).

Scottish League 1 side Rangers fans' chiefs on Tuesday night "promised to press ahead with plans to set up a season ticket fighting fund to help Dave King bring down the current regime," according to Keith Jackson of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. Umbrella group The Union of Fans released its latest statement Tuesday, following on from King’s state of the nation address which was made public on Monday night. In the South Africa-based businessman’s speech "he accused the Ibrox board of treating hedge fund firm Laxey Partners better than their own supporters." In response, supporters' leaders "reluctantly agreed to back off while also declaring their intention to carry on with their original proposals to open a bank account into which fellow fans can deposit next season’s ticket cash -- rather than hand that money over to the club’s under-fire hierarchy" (DAILY RECORD, 3/19).