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Hua Yi Entertainment to take over Brother Elephants

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Hua Yi Entertainment (華翼育樂公司) yesterday announced that it will officially take over the Brother Elephants in a NT$400 million move with the sponsorship of Chinatrust Commercial Bank.

The Brother Elephants, one the most popular teams in Taiwan's professional baseball league, was put up for sale because of heavy financial losses by Brother Hotel, the founder and owner of the baseball team for the past 29 years.

Chinatrust Commercial Bank (CTCB Bank), a subsidiary company of Chinatrust Group, received sponsorship and advertising rights by sponsoring Hua Yi's takeover. However, CTCB Bank will not involve itself in the management of the Brother Elephants due to regulations.

According to CTCB Bank, the new name and mascot of the baseball team will be determined by Hua Yi Entertainment.

Chinatrust had at one time sponsored its own baseball team, the “Chinatrust Whales,” which joined the CPBL in 1996. The team, however, disbanded in 2008 due to Chinatrust's financial losses.

“For all the people who love baseball, Chinatrust is back,” said Chinatrust Commercial Bank Vice Chairman Steve Hsieh (薛香川)

“The founder of the firm had always been devoted to education and culture, and the Brother Elephants is a baseball team that everyone respects,” said Hsieh. “Therefore, Chinatrust decided to come back to the field this time to sponsor the management of this great team.”

Hua Yi Entertainment Chairman Lin Feng-chun said that with title sponsorship, the company is confident in the future of the Brother Elephants.

“Many people's passion toward baseball has been rekindled again since the World Baseball Classic this past March, so I am really confident in the future of Taiwan's professional baseball,” said Lin.

Hung Jui-ho, president of Brother Elephants, said that despite the hotel losing nearly NT$1 billion on the Elephants since 1984, the hotel's owners never regretted managing the team.

“It is a social responsibility for us to keep running the team, but we could no longer bear the heavy financial burden of ownership,” said Hung. “We chose to let Chinatrust take over the team because we hope there can still be a baseball team based in Taipei.”

Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) Chairman Huang Zhen-tai (黃鎮台) said that it was a very important day for the league.

“For all the baseball fans, including me, our feeling in witnessing the Brother Elephants taken over by another owner is very complicated,” said Huang.

“During the period of time that Chinatrust had expressed interests in taking over the Brother Elephants, I could feel that the firm was determined to manage this team as best it could,” said Huang.

The Elephants, always recognizable in their all-yellow uniforms, are one of the two franchises still left in Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) that were part of the league when it began play in 1990. The other is the Uni-President Lions.

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President of the Brother Elephants Hung Jui-ho, right, and Hua Yi Entertainment Chairman Lin Feng-chun, left, pose together with the newly signed contract on the ownership of the Brother Elephants in Taipei, yesterday. (CNA)

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