Shinsegae Group,안전놀이터 which is currently promoting the construction of the Cheongna Dome Stadium, has a club worth benchmarking. This is the story of the Softbank Hawks, which serve as a landmark in Fukuoka, Japan and are loved by baseball fans.
In July 2020, Softbank opened an entertainment facility named ‘Boss Ijo’ next to its home stadium, PayPay Dome. It has a space for enjoying various activities such as extreme sports, exhibitions, and VR (virtual reality) experiences, as well as convenient facilities and restaurants. Here, a museum containing the history of the club and a baseball experience that can be enjoyed by both men and women of all ages are provided.
Immediately after the facility opened, it experienced economic difficulties due to the spread of Corona 19, but it began to recover as quarantine measures were recently eased. In particular, baseball fans who have been recovering from daily life began to gather at the baseball field one by one.
However, ‘Boss Ijo’, located next to Paypay Dome, is attracting tourists from all over the world as well as locals as there are many things to enjoy even if you are not watching baseball. On days when there is a baseball game here, you can naturally visit the stadium and catch two rabbits at once. It serves as a link to attract those who are not interested in baseball to fans.
This year, Softbank is trying to expand the market through ‘Boss Ijo’ in celebration of the club’s 85th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of the opening of the dome. In particular, in order to target the Asian market, we are considering various strategies with Korea as the main base.
Softbank invited Lee Dae-ho (41), who played an active role in the club in the past, as the first pitcher to attract the attention of Korean baseball fans and tourists. It is rare for foreign players to be invited as the first pitcher, but Lee Dae-ho, who finished his career after completing his retirement tour for the second time in KBO League history last year, decided that he could sufficiently attract the attention of Korean fans.
Lee Dae-ho’s performance at Softbank in the past was also dazzling, so it was good news for local fans as well. Lee Dae-ho, who played for Softbank for two years from 2014 to 2015, contributed to the combined championship for two consecutive years, and in 2015, he was the first Korean to be selected as the Japan Series MVP (Most Valuable Player).
Lee Dae-ho, who was invited by Softbank, watched the 2023 Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Chiba Lotte Marines home game held at Paypay Dome on the 27th. Lee Dae-ho, who was unfamiliar with the crowd because he had been playing for more than 20 years, said with a thrilled expression, “This is my first time in the crowd. I’m so nervous.”
Lee Dae-ho will throw the first pitch in the match against Chiba Lotte, which will be held at the same place the next day (28th). Prior to this, he plans to visit ‘Boss Ijo’ and experience various activities firsthand.
If Softbank enjoys publicity through Lee Dae-ho, it seems that it will be able to build a landmark that can do everything from baseball to tourism.
An official from the club said, “I hope not only baseball fans but also many Korean tourists visit. We are selling fun tickets limited to Koreans and preparing various benefits.” I want to make it a place that is loved by many Korean tourists.”
Shinsegae Group, which is currently planning to build Cheongna Starfield along with ‘Cheongna Dome Stadium’, needs to benchmark this. SSG owner Jeong Yong-jin is so enthusiastic that he personally visited the baseball field of a Major League Baseball club in the US for the project.
In this year’s New Year’s address, owner Jeong said, “We must focus on our customers madly. We must create products and services that can make customers’ hearts tremble.” When we do, risks and crises will become assets for our leap forward.” It remains to be seen whether Shinsegae Group can build a landmark comparable to Softbank.