The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) looks set to start its season on time next year after Kaohsiung-based E-United Group agreed to purchase the struggling Sinon Bulls baseball team for NT$130 million (US$4.67 million) on Thursday.
The two groups are scheduled to sign the contract in Greater Kaohsiung on Tuesday.
E-United Group representative Hsieh Pin-yu (謝秉育) said the group agreed to take over the management of the baseball team because it was advantageous to society as well as to the development of the nation’s professional baseball league.
He said the group would also discuss several issues, including the team’s new name, new mascot and home field, and that they welcomed ideas from fans.
The Bulls are one of the four remaining teams in the CPBL. Sinon Corp, which currently owns the team, announced in October that its board of directors had decided to sell the team, which had posted losses of almost NT$90 million this season.
E-United Group chairman Lin Yi-shou (林義守) expressed the group’s intention to purchase the team in a meeting with government officials and the team’s management last weekend and said more details would be discussed this week.
The deal on Thursday evening was finalized after approximately three hours of negotiation. Aside from Lin and Sinon Group chairman Yang Wen-ping (楊文彬), Minister Without Portfolio and former Kaohsiung County commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), Sports Affairs Council Minister Tai Hsia-ling (戴遐齡) and CPBL president Huang Cheng-tai (黃鎮台) and Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) also attended the meeting.
Local media reported that negotiations were not going well in the beginning as Sinon asked for a price which E-United refused to meet.
Huang said Yang quoted the final price himself and that the two groups agreed to it after further negotiation. The two groups also signed a memorandum of understanding afterward.
The Sinon Bulls were previously known as the Jungo Bears (俊國熊). The name was changed after Sinon Corp bought the team for NT$520 million. During the past 17 years in the CPBL, the Bulls won two championship titles, secured 789 victories and lost 904 games.
The Bulls’ home field is in Greater Taichung and they are the most popular team in central Taiwan. However, the team’s performances had gone downhill in recent years, which in turn caused it to lose a lot of fans.