The captain of the Korean national team has arrived!’ Japanese professional basketball player Mikawa’s surprising ‘Lee Dae-sung marketing’
Japanese professional basketball is making money by using Lee Dae-seong (33, Mikawa), former captain of the Korean national team, for marketing.
Lee Dae-seong, who qualified as a free agent in the off-season, chose to advance to Japanese professional basketball. The top player who won the championship, MVP, and top scorer in the KBL for two consecutive years challenged a league in another country after turning 30.
There was a KBL team that wanted Lee Dae-seong for a large amount of money, but his intention was firm. Rather than being complacent in Korea, he needed a stage where he could see from the ground up how much his skills had grown. Seahorse Mikawa, who was appointed head coach by former NBA Washington Wizards coach Ryan Richman, reached out. Daesung Lee willingly chose the challenge.
In fact, it is a decision that is difficult for the general public to understand. This is because he gave up the opportunity to spend his final years as a player comfortably receiving a high salary. But complacency is the last thing Lee Dae-seong wants. Coach Richman said to Lee Dae-seong, “I can’t guarantee you a starting spot. However, we will definitely provide an opportunity for fair competition.” Daesung Lee was more attracted to this. This is because he was confident that he would compete proudly and become a starting player in Japan.
The result is successful. Dae-seong Lee has been the starting pitcher with Mika since the preseason. Due to team circumstances, he is used as a small forward, but he is adapting well. Dae-Sung Lee is proudly playing as a starting player in the first six games of the season. In the Japanese league, two out of three foreign players play at the same time. Naturalized players or even Asia Quarter players can participate simultaneously. Due to the composition of the players, Lee Dae-seong does not have many attacking opportunities. Dae-seong Lee is mainly used as a shooter who is in charge of marking the opponent’s naturalized players.토스카지노
I think Lee Dae-seong is currently the player who has been in contact with the ball the longest in KBL. Korean fans may be disappointed with Lee Dae-sung if they only look at the numbers of 7.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game. But if you come and watch the game in person, it’s a different story. The energy that Lee Dae-seong expends on defense while blocking naturalized players from the opposing team is on a different level from KBL. He still has pain from the effects of off-season right wrist surgery. He hasn’t even caught the zero point of his shot.
This reporter was the first Korean media reporter to cover Lee Dae-sung’s Japanese professional game. I would like to recommend Japanese basketball intuition to Lee Dae-sung fans as well.
It’s such a rural area, will people really come? It was unfortunate.
Lee Dae-sung’s team, Seahorse Mikawa, is located in Kariya, outside Nagoya. Nagoya City is Japan’s third largest city with a population of over 2.3 million people. However, Kariya City, about an hour outside of Nagoya, is a small city with a population of 150,000. It has a strong economic power as it is home to many of the leading conglomerates that support Japanese industry, including Mikawa’s parent company, the automobile parts company ‘Aisin’. In the Nagoya area alone, there are four teams from the first division of the Japanese men’s professional basketball league.
For fans planning to watch Lee Dae-sung play, we recommend staying at Kariya Station. It is easily accessible from Nagoya Central Airport and there are many hotels and restaurants nearby. Above all, on Mikawa game days, a free shuttle bus is provided to the stadium. Mikawa has three home stadiums. The reporter watched two games at the largest ‘Wing Arena Gariya’.
After taking the free shuttle bus from Kariya Station and going out for another 20 minutes, we found Mikawa’s home stadium, ‘Wing Arena Kariya’. As soon as I boarded the bus, a video introducing the Mikawa team was shown. The club’s will to capture the hearts of fans without wasting even the 20 minutes heading to the stadium was strongly conveyed. Lee Dae-seong was also seen. His strong self-introduction, “I want to challenge my own limits and prove my skills in Japan,” was impressive.
As I watched the video, 20 minutes had passed. When I arrived at my destination, the stadium, I was shocked. Kariya City Sports Park, where the stadium is located, was a comprehensive sports facility with not only a basketball court, but also a soccer field and an auxiliary stadium. In addition to professional soccer games, games such as rugby and hockey are also held. There was not a single store in the vast field. There was only grass spread across a land as vast as the Seoul Olympic Park. The reporter who rushed to report at 1 o’clock ahead of the 3 p.m. game and was trying to have lunch around the stadium was embarrassed.
I walked 5 minutes to the basketball court and was shocked again. There were more than two hours left until the game started, and more than 500 fans were gathered in the square in front of the stadium. They were already enjoying the game, eating at the ‘Food Market’ spread out in the square, buying team supplies at the ‘Official Goods Shop’.
What was even more surprising was that no one bought tickets on site. This is because everyone has already made plans and purchased tickets several weeks in advance. You can enter by signing up to the ‘B League website’, making online reservations, and showing the application QR code. Japan no longer liked analog paper tickets. Korean fans also need to buy basketball tickets sooner than plane tickets if they want to see Lee Dae-sung play. It is said that tickets for popular games start selling out two months in advance.
From uniforms to dolls, ‘Lee Dae-seong goods’
were available in everything at the food market with various food trucks. They sold a variety of foods, including ramen and Nagoya specialty miso katsu. There was everything including bread, ice cream, and coffee. These days, Japan doesn’t just stick to cash like in the past, but digital pay is also active. The price wasn’t expensive either. Food marketing using popular players such as Nakamura Taichi Sandwich was also impressive. I ordered ramen and beer and bought melon bread made with the club mascot face for dessert.
I was surprised again when I went to the official goods shop. There was everything, including basic items such as uniforms and T-shirts, as well as local specialties. Goods with the names of key players engraved on them were also standard. A lot of goods from Lee Dae-seong, who has become a main player, were also seen. There were replica uniforms, T-shirts, key chains, dolls, mufflers, and towels with Lee Dae-seong’s number 43 and LEE engraved on them. Lee Dae-seong’s face was also found on Tumblr. The reporter also bought a Daesung Lee keychain as a gift to readers.
The reason Japan can produce such a variety of related products is because it has an ‘economy of scale’ like the NBA. Japanese professional basketball has a strong fan base that consistently attracts more than 3,500 fans for each game. The money they spend eating, drinking, and shopping at the stadium exceeds 50,000 won in addition to the admission ticket. This means spending about 100,000 won per person. There are 24 such clubs in the first division alone.
The club is constantly encouraging consumers’ purchasing power by collaborating with goods companies to develop limited edition products. Global sports brands have also jumped into the Japanese professional basketball market. Mikawa’s uniform was produced by Converse.
The reporter has been to most NBA stadiums, but the type and quality of Japanese professional basketball products are in no way inferior to the NBA. To be honest, in Korea, I have never felt the desire to purchase club-related products. In Japan, wallets opened spontaneously. The products are so well made that I can’t help but buy them. In Korea, bringing in outside food is allowed, and honestly, there is nothing to buy inside the basketball court. This is why KBL is unable to properly raise additional revenue other than stadium admission revenue.
Mikawa Club “Our goal is to exceed 3,500 average spectators this season and advance to the Premier League.”
Last December, B League President Shinji Shimada (52) visited Korea and held a press conference. President Shimada said, “The Ryukyu Golden Kings built the first 10,000-seat NBA-style home stadium in Japan. Since then, the club’s revenue has increased 2.5 times compared to before, reaching 2.14 billion yen (about 20.3 billion won). “To survive in the first division from 2026, three conditions must be met: an average attendance of 4,000, club income of more than 1.2 billion yen (approximately 11.4 billion won), and a plan to build a dedicated gymnasium,” he said.
When I went to the stadium where Lee Dae-sung plays, there were no empty seats in the stadium that accommodates about 3,800 people. Although the stadium was somewhat small, it was full. The B League saw the lack of a dedicated stadium and small capacity as a weakness of the league, and set a condition that in order to remain in the Premier League (first division) by 2026, a plan to build a new stadium with more than 5,000 seats must be confirmed.
Daeseong Lee said, “Honestly, after coming to Japan, I realized that the marketing was at an amazing level. Various items that cannot be found in Korea sell well. The club also pays great attention to not only performance, but also marketing and attendance revenue. In Korea, players mainly focus on sports, but in Japan, players directly promote the club and hold promotional events in the city. “The party attended by sponsor company officials is also an important event,” he said.
KBL is also experiencing good box office success for the first time in a while, with 8,780 people attending the opening game in Busan. However, it is not enough to simply be satisfied with the number of spectators. There were many unintended positive factors such as ‘Busan opening game’ and ‘Heo Woong effect’. Rather than just being a one-time hit, we need to think about ways to continuously attract fans. Additionally, there needs to be more devices that can drive actual consumption by knowing how much fans spend when they come.