Japanese professional basketball champion Utsunomiya Brex, who recruited Yang Jae-min (24, Utsunomiya Brex), is making good profits through marketing.
Japan Professional Basketball B-League champion Utsunomiya recruited Yang Jae-min as an Asian quarter player last October. Yang Jae-min is a big help to the team with his tall stature in defense inside and outside.
One thing to note is marketing. Utsunomiya has been regarded as the most popular team in the B-League from the beginning. The average number of spectators is close to 4,000. Marketing revenue is also competing for first place in the league. After recruiting Yang Jae-min, Utsunomiya developed new products such as ‘Yang Jae-min Seasoned Chicken’ and became a hit.
OSEN met Brex CEO Mitsumasa Fujimoto in Utsunomiya and asked about the secret. Despite being a young CEO, Mr. Fujimoto, 40 years old this year, personally managed all of the club’s business operations, including marketing and operations, excluding Brex’s power analysis and player recruitment. The decision-making method itself was different from KBL, which only stamped approval documents.
– This is OSEN from Korea. Please introduce yourself to your Korean fans.
This is Mitsumasa Fujimoto, who serves as Brex’s chairman. I have been working at BREX since 2017. At that time, the B League was launched and the Tochigi Brex became the Utsunomiya Brex. This is what the club has been doing since its inception. He became CEO of Brex in 2020. He oversees everything from admission tickets to marketing. Player recruitment is handled by another specialized department.
– I am curious about the secret of Brex, which is located in Utsunomiya, a small city with a population of 500,000, is the most popular team in the B-League.
Utsunomiya is a small city, but it is located in the Tokyo metropolitan area. It has a lot of history and tradition. Japanese basketball originally had many small-town teams. Our team originally had an average crowd of about 1,500. It continued to increase and raised it to an average of 4400 people in 2019, before Corona. Our stadium has a capacity of 4,500 people, so almost every game was sold out.
However, Corona exploded and things changed. Unlike Tokyo, people in small cities are still very concerned about corona infection. Some people are afraid to come to the basketball court. Still, 70% have loyalists.
The popularity of Tabuse Yuta, a national star, also accounts for a large part of the popularity of our team. He joined in 2018. In fact, even in 2017, the only professional teams in our area were basketball and soccer. Now there are ice hockey and cycling teams. Apparently, the club is well connected to the local community. There are many big and small sponsors. There are also many small shops that support us. You can see and feel our team posters anywhere, even on the street. People feel close to our team.
(In fact, the reporter visited a chicken skewer house with the Brex logo. The president said, “I cheer for every game. Even though it is a small amount, we are sponsoring Brex. There are many customers who come to our house to cheer for Brex.” boasted. )
– Your marketing skills are amazing. What is the average attendance and revenue per season?
Revenue for one season is 1.4 billion yen (approximately 13.3 billion won). For fairness, everything is open on the homepage.
(In fact, looking at Brex’s June 2022 settlement of accounts on the homepage, sales were confirmed to be 1.48 billion yen (approximately 13.31 billion won). Among them, sponsored advertising revenue accounted for 45% and ticket revenue accounted for 21%. Merchandise revenue, such as goods, is 12%.)
– Collaborative marketing with Tsutaya Bookstore is amazing. How did you come up with the idea?
It is close to our stadium and is the most popular bookstore in Utsunomiya. So, we thought of collaborating with our club. The entire bookstore was filled with advertisements for our athletes. It’s good that many of our fans go to the bookstore, and we also installed a club store in the bookstore, so sales of goods increased. I think it’s win-win marketing. ‘Brex Latte’, sold only on game days, has become a popular menu item in cafes as well.
– The quality of the club’s products is as good as that of the NBA. The reporter also bought a teddy bear at the stadium yesterday for 1,540 yen.
In the B-League, in terms of product revenue, Ryukyu ranks first and Korea ranks second. Before Ryukyu opened a new NBA-style stadium, we were always number one. Keep coming up with new items for every game. Fans are creating reasons to come to every game. We have 6,000 season ticket buyers. There is a separate designer who designs the product.
– The B-League president visited Korea two weeks ago. It was said that the construction of a new stadium was essential to remain in the first division. How is it going?
We are negotiating with the city government to build a new stadium by 2028.
– What are the effects of recruiting Yang Jae-min?
Just looking at the game, Jaemin Yang is playing poorly these days. However, he is a young player who gives energy to the team and saves the atmosphere of the team. He has a good hustle. He has a good influence on the rest of the team and is liked by the fans. We are happy to be on our team. I hope that many Korean fans will come in because of Yang Jae-min.
– The marketing technique using Yang Jae-min is amazing. The reporter also bought and ate ‘Yang Jae-min Seasoned Chicken’?
We are trying to use Yang Jae-min more for marketing. He came to Japan two years ago. He has been with us for 3 months now. He has a good personality and people like him. He thinks it can be used more for marketing. But he couldn’t run as much as he thought. He is not depressed even on the bench. He’s a positive player so hopefully he’ll do better in the second half.
– Yang Jae-min’s fans in Korea are frustrated because they can’t watch the game because there is no broadcast. Do you have any plans to increase YouTube broadcasting?
Softbank is the main sponsor of the B-League. They have their own platform ‘Basketball Live’ that broadcasts basketball. That is the main route, but overseas viewing is blocked, so there are pros and cons. Asian players are tall and have strengths in strength. We are constantly looking for the best in marketing. We will also prepare a way for Asian fans to watch the game.
– I am curious about the background of the East Asia Super League qualifier in Utsunomiya in March.
We advanced because we were the champions of Japan. Super League canceled home & away matches. That’s why Okinawa and we held it. The B League Secretariat decided 스포츠토토
How do you feel about playing against Korean champion SK?
We are excited too. I have never played a national match between clubs. I am happy to join the Super League.
– I wonder if there are any plans to have more exchanges with Korea.
During the off-season, 4-5 Korean teams come to Japan every year to play practice games. I played about 10 games with KBL teams such as SK and DB. a good competitor
– What are your goals for this season as CEO?
Our team performance is not good. I want to go to the playoffs. In terms of management, it is to reach an average audience of 4,000. In order to achieve the goal, we are a little short of it, so we need to work harder.
– Lastly, please say hello to your Korean fans.
We have Yang Jae-min on our team. Now that the corona situation has improved, I hope Korean fans will come to Utsunomiya to watch our team play and enjoy the many attractions.