Brother Elephants' fate to be decided
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The fate of the Brother Elephants, a team in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL), will be determined next week, when its five owners announce their decision on whether the franchise will be sold, said Hung Jui-ho, chairman of the 29-year-old professional baseball team, yesterday.
October 19, 2013, 12:42 am TWN
As the team has been jointly supported by Hung and his four brothers since its inception 29 years ago, Hung said, it's necessary for the five brothers to have a meeting and discuss whether to keep running the team or to sell it to potential buyers, according to the United Evening News.
Hung said decision will be officially publicized at a press conference next week.
“We set up the Brother Elephants team purely out of personal interest, but over the years we have felt an increasing social responsibility as we have to take into consideration all the fans supporting our team as a member of the CPBL,” Hung said, adding that it is really a difficult determine whether to keep the team or not.
Hung noted that Brother Hotel, jointly owned by the five brothers, is just a small-to-medium enterprise, and therefore is limited in its capacity to assist in continuing the team's operations. “If there are any large-sized enterprises showing interest in buying Brother Elephants, we may consider a deal.”
The Brother Elephants suffered an operating loss of over NT$50 million last year, exceeding the team's maximum tolerable loss level of NT$40 million. This year, the team's losses sharply dropped to under NT$20 million amid the resumed popularity of the CPBL brought on by the signing of MLB slugger Manny Ramirez. But the failure for the team to vie for a championship this season has hindered the team's opportunity to become profitable this year. This, according to Hung, is one of the reasons why the management is considering whether to remain owners of the team.
Meanwhile, Hung also clarified that the management hasn't taken the initiative to seek out potential buyers of the Brother Elephants yet.
According to reports, when the World Baseball Classic was held in Taichung in March of this year, the management of the Brother Elephants approached the Hon Hai Group in hopes of selling the team to the island's largest electronic manufacturing service provider. “That is purely an erroneous report,” Hung said.
If the team is sold, however, Hung fears it could be a detriment to the CPBL. Last year, the Sinnon Bulls unexpectedly decided to quit the CPBL and had trouble finding a proper buyer, until the E United Group offered to buy the team, renaming it the EDA Rhinos.
“If the E United Group had failed to buy the Sinnon Bulls, then the CPBL would have suffer tremendously,” Hung said.