Backed by the beat of giant drums in a great hall in Taipei today, Rakuten welcomed a new member to the group: Professional baseball team the Rakuten Monkeys.
Earlier this year, Rakuten announced its entry into the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) from the 2020 season through the acquisition of the Lamigo Monkeys. The Monkeys are based in Taoyuan, a city of over 2 million just south of Taipei, and have won five of the last six Taiwan Series championships. The name “monkeys” in Mandarin is a homonym of their hometown, Taoyuan.
The new team look was unveiled today at an event attended by around 300 media, fans and local dignitaries. Rakuten Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani was joined by Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-Tsang and League Commissioner Wu Chih-Yang to reveal the new name, uniforms, colors and logo.
The power of sport to inspire
“I am thrilled to unveil Rakuten Monkeys as the new name of Taiwan’s most iconic baseball team,” said Mikitani at the event. “Rakuten’s strong commitment to sports partnerships originated with baseball in Japan, and we are very excited about this opportunity to contribute to the growth and ongoing success of professional baseball in Taiwan.”
“We would like to thank Rakuten for retaining the fine traditions established by the team in the past,” commented Mayor Cheng. “Taoyuan’s support of the Rakuten Monkeys professional baseball team remains unchanged. The Rakuten Monkeys are the strongest team and we fully support them on their road to the four-peat and five-peat as the 10th teammate.”
“We are very happy to welcome the Rakuten Monkeys to the CPBL and look forward to seeing even greater growth and prosperity in the league,” said Commissioner Wu.
The Rakuten Monkeys players took to the stage to showcase their brand new uniforms, featuring a unique red design inspired by Rakuten’s signature color. Meanwhile, the team’s cheerleading squad — performing for the first time in their new colors — delivered a high-energy performance.
Rakuten foresees further growth in Taiwan
This new endeavor is far from Rakuten’s first rodeo in the world of sports. Rakuten owns and manages the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles baseball team, which won the Japan Series in 2013, as well as star-studded J.League soccer squad Vissel Kobe. In recent years, Rakuten has also undertaken far-reaching partnerships with soccer sensations FC Barcelona, the NBA and its California-based Golden State Warriors, as well as tennis’ longest running team event, the Davis Cup.
Rakuten has also been very active in the Taiwan market since launching the Taiwan Rakuten Ichiba internet shopping mall over a decade ago. That launch was soon followed by Rakuten Travel, Rakuten Card, C2C app Rakuma and e-reading service Rakuten Kobo.
With Rakuten’s decade-plus experience connecting with Taiwanese customers and extensive expertise in the sports business industry behind them, the Rakuten Monkeys are sure to continue winning, both on the field and as a new champion of the Rakuten Group in Taiwan.