Shinji Shimada, president of the B.League, “I will be self-sufficient”
On December 27th, a special place was prepared at the Quantum Basketball Skill Training Center located in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. Japanese B.League president Shinji Shimada personally visited Korea and held a meeting with reporters. On this day, President Shimada personally explained the current status of the B. League and future partnerships with KBL, revealing the various visions of the B. League. Let’s listen to the stories that President Shimada brought out from now on.
*This article was published in the February issue of Rookie.
“I want to continue the partnership with KBL.”
President Shimada took office as president of the B.League in July 2020. However, it was the first time he visited Korea in person after taking office as president.
What was the reason for President Shimada’s visit to Korea? “He wanted to talk directly with KBL about how to maintain our partnership,” Shimada said.
President Shimada said, “While growing with the B. League, there was help from KBL. Exchanges began in 2016. When the B. League was established, the game rules and salary cap were learned from KBL and became the foundation for development. As I grew up, I received a lot of help from KBL and studied.”
He said, “As a professional league, KBL is a league that I have a respect for. I first signed a full-scale partnership with KBL three years ago, and it will be exactly three years in June next year (2023). I had a goal to meet and maintain partnerships with the president and other people,” he said.
Then, President Shimada said, “After taking office as president in July 2020, I was unable to go on a business trip overseas because of the outbreak of COVID-19. Taichi Nakamura was playing in KBL at the time. So I wanted to visit more, but I couldn’t. I was able to visit KBL only now. I came here because I wanted to see the game with my own two eyes.”
“The goal is to build a self-sustaining 1st division league”
The B.League is distinctly different from the KBL. That is, a total of 3 divisions are operated. President Shimada pointed out the core vision of introducing the promotion and relegation system in the B.League, saying, “We are trying to change it in such a way that a team with self-sustaining power can go to the first division.”
President Shimada said, “Until now, divisions 1 to 3 were divided according to the level of performance. There are three conditions to enter the league: an average number of spectators of 4,000 or more, annual revenue of 1.2 billion yen or more, and securing a state-of-the-art stadium such as Okinawa Arena. You must meet these three requirements to enter the first division,” he explained.
He continued, “It is a system that depends on how much the club has self-sufficiency in addition to performance and how much it can attract spectators based on self-sufficiency. It has a different meaning from performance.” Nine stadiums are being built, starting with the newly built Okinawa Arena. We are trying to build stadiums optimized for basketball throughout the country.”
Will there be resistance from teams that have good results but are relatively weak on their own?
President Shimada said, “There are obviously some teams that only think about performance without thinking about business. There may be resistance. However, it was decided at the league level. All teams are trying to follow. .The screening will be held in October 2024, and three criteria will be applied in earnest from 2026. If the conditions are not met, you cannot enter the B1 league.It is not easy for each team to gather an average of 4,000 people, so efforts to attract local spectators are doing,” he said.
“Protection of national players, may not be the correct answer”
The B.League is a league with a larger foreign player system than the KBL. KBL has gone through a lot of changes and is in the process of settling the current two-person possession and one-person competition system. However, in Japan, there are 3 players and 2 players at the same time. Recently, with the influx of capital into the B. League, there are cases where foreign players who have passed through the KBL head to the B. League for a larger amount of money스포츠토토.
KBL has always been concerned about the foreign player system. The question was how to achieve a balance between securing a certain level of space for Korean players and at the same time using foreign players to improve league performance and provide attractions. What concerns and visions does the B.League have about this issue?
President Shimada put forward the view that “protecting the national players may not be the answer.”
He said, “There have been times when Japan has had no foreign players, and there have been times when only one player has played. There have been various systems in the meantime. I don’t know if it will be in 2028, but I’m thinking about what to do in the B1 league.”
“There is a question about whether it is helpful to protect only domestic players,” he said. “It is also necessary for good players to come in and play. I am still thinking about what the answer is. I think the competitiveness of Japanese basketball will increase. I am thinking about finding an appropriate middle ground between a business point of view and a performance point of view.”
“Welcome to the B.League from top players in the KBL?”
It seems that basketball exchanges between Korea and Japan at the professional level are in full swing through the recent Asian quota system. After wearing the DB uniform for two years with Taichi Nakamura, Hisashi Moriguchi nestled in the carrot as a Japanese player this season. Among Korean players, Yang Jae-min and Cheon Ki-beom are active in the B.League.
“Japan welcomes good players from around the world in basketball,” said Shimada. “Of course, it welcomes Korean players to play. I hope to come to the B.League. On the contrary, I also welcome the top players of the B.League to go to Korea.”
“One of the factors that continue the partnership with KBL is that the clubs of both leagues have an exchange relationship,” he said. “There are many teams who want to meet the KBL team before the opening of the B. League. This is because it is a good training beforehand. Even if there is no agreement between teams, KBL teams can go a lot and practice games are possible. There are clubs that do not feel the need yet, but when the situation comes to train together and motivate them, B. League teams I think I will be more active,” he said.