Mon, Jul 08, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Tax perks mulled for companies that back sports teams

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The government is considering increasing corporate tax deductibles as an incentive for large corporations to manage professional sports teams, the Sports Administration said yesterday.

The agency made the statement after the management of the Lamigo Monkeys on Wednesday last week announced that it is seeking a new owner for the six-time Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) champions, as it has accumulated financial losses of NT$1.6 billion (US$51.44 million) over the past 16 years.

Lamigo’s announcement followed the readmittance of the Wei Chuan Dragons to the league after the club disbanded 20 years ago. The fifth team are to start out in the CPBL’s minor league.

Sports Administration Deputy Director-General Lin Che-hung (林哲宏) said it is the government’s hope that the nation’s professional sports would develop and flourish.

The sports industry has a smaller economy of scale than the US and China, and so far only baseball has enough support to develop additional professional teams, he said.

Unlike the other clubs in the CPBL, which are run either by a large corporation or a financial holding firm, Lamigo are run by La New, a medium-sized corporation specializing in footwear production, Lin said.

Even though Lamigo’s owner has a passion for baseball, it is difficult for the firm to support the operation of a professional baseball team, which is why it decided to sell, he said.

Article 7 of the Sports Industry Development Act (運動產業發展條例) has allowed the government at all levels or state-owned businesses to invest in the professional sports industry in conjunction with the national sports policy and sports industry development plans, Lin said, adding that his agency is working on details to encourage more government agencies or state-owned businesses to finance teams.

“We are considering the possibility of increasing corporate tax deductibles to incentivize sponsorship or support of the professional sports industry,” he said, adding that the sports agency is to release the plan in October.

The Lamigo are not the first professional team in Taiwan to have been put up for sale.

The Brothers Baseball Club were managed and supported by the Taipei-based Brother Hotel for 24 years, during which time the team won championship titles.

In 2013, the club was sold to CTBC Bank for NT$400 million.

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