Sun, Oct 29, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Authorities mulling ways to support local baseball

RED INK Currently, the Chinese Professional Baseball League has six teams but none of them is profitable and only two have been around since the league commenced

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said the government would encourage more local enterprises to sponsor Taiwan's professional baseball teams.

"Initially, we will be considering encouraging local enterprises to sponsor or own professional baseball teams with tax breaks. In addition, we are also considering having a sports lottery," said Su when approached by reporters for comment yesterday.

Su was referring to the rumor that the La New Bears, which won this year's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) championship, will be sold off because of financial difficulties.

The CPBL has been suffering from severe financial problems for years.

During the 17 seasons since the CPBL's inception, four teams have been either dissolved or sold to other owners because of funding issues.

Currently, six teams are still surviving but none of them is making a profit and only two have survived all 17 seasons.

Although approximately NT$80 million (US$2.4 million) was lost this season, Liu Pao-yu (劉保佑), the owner of the La New Bears, said he would not abandon the team.

Liu issued a press release on Friday and explained that some earlier comments he had made were misinterpreted by the public to suggest that he intended to sell the team. He emphasized that he has no intention of doing so but he would welcome "all kinds of financial support or cooperation" to maintain the team.

Su said baseball is one of the most popular sports in Taiwan, and that more and more people are becoming interested in it because of New York Yankee pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民).

Wang is a role model for Taiwanese, Su said.

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