Japan's DeNA, operator of major mobile social gaming network Mobage, is reportedly close to a deal to purchase the suffering Yokohmama BayStars baseball franchise, a move likely aimed at improving the company's marketing.
According to a Nikkei report (translated by Andriasang
), current team owner Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) will sell most of its 70 percent stake in the team to DeNA for roughly 10 billion yen ($131 million), pending the approval of all 12 team owner associations in the league.
TBS has reportedly been trying to sell its ownership share in the team for at least a year. The BayStars are currently operating at an annual loss of 2 billion yen ($26 million), and sitting at the bottom of the Central League standings.
The BayStars are currently the only team in Japan's 12-team league whose name doesn't include the branding of a corporate owner.
DeNA would likely change that upon completing its purchase, and may even move the team away from Yokohama, though The Hollywood Reporter reports
a group of Yokohama businessmen were recently organizing a counter-bid to try and prevent that move.
In 1991, Nintendo of America purchased a controlling share in the Seattle Mariners, leading to marketing tie-ins including the Ken Griffey Jr.'s Baseball
game franchise and a "Nintendo Fan Network" that DS owners can use at Seattle's Safeco Field.
Elsewhere, Korean MMO maker NCSoft is currently the lead bidder
in an effort to purchase a new baseball team set to be established in the country's South Gyeongsang Province in 2014.