Beijing’s Olympic baseball stadium has never had a particularly bright future. Plans to raze at least one of the two structures, built next to the much more commercially lucrative Wukesong basketball arena, seem to remain unchanged. This AP report indicates that, as China Sports Today has been told in conversations with China-based baseball professionals, the main stadium could soon be history. The reason is simple–lack of sufficient interest in the game to justify a substantial lineup of games.
But the AP story ends with an interesting observation. Real estate has been slumping in Beijing (this story cites a forecast from Jones Lang LaSalle that demand for office rentals in Beijing will dip by 10 to 15 percent next year), making 2009 a less than ideal year for the site’s majority owner, ACRE, to find a new tenant for this piece of land.
AP quotes Harvey Schiller, the president of the International Baseball Federation, as saying: “Maybe current economic conditions will work in our favor, hopefully.” Schiller and Major League Baseball seem to be hoping that the delay in developing new plans for the stadium site will buy them some time to get some other ducks in a row. Major League Baseball runs a youth development program called “Play Ball,” and is reportedly still lobbying to get games aired on CCTV.
The stadium was christened last spring with a pair of exhibition games between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers, which were reported to be played in front of sellout crowds, despite at least a quarter of the seats being empty.
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