About 3 minutes reading time.

Exhibition Game Between Yomiuri Giants and CTBC Brothers Breaks Taiwan Attendance Record; Fans Have Complaints Regarding Taipei Dome

 Conor Liguori  |    Mar 3rd, 2024 11:13pm EST

The Taipei Dome held a record crowd for an exhibition game between the NPB’s Yomiuri Giants and the CPBL’s CBTC Brothers. (Photo Credit: Taipei City)

Saturday’s exhibition game between Nippon Professional Baseball’s Yomiuri Giants and the Chinese Professional Baseball League’s CTBC Brothers broke an attendance record for a professional baseball game in Taiwan, as 37,890 fans sat in the stands at the Taipei Dome in Xinyi, Taipei, Taiwan.

The previous attendance record for a professional baseball game in Taiwan was set in 2001 at Chengcing Lake Baseball Stadium in Kaohsiung, where 25,000 fans attended a Baseball World Cup contest between Taiwan and the United States. The United States won the game 4-1 to advance to the finals against Cuba.

The Giants won Saturday’s game 4-1, which helped celebrate the organization’s 90th anniversary. Shosei Togo, the starting pitcher in the game for the Giants, had an exceptional performance on the mound but admitted to reporters he was nervous during the contest.

“I was very nervous because I had to play in front of a sellout crowd in my first game in Taiwan, but I leveraged that to my own advantage and tried to put on a great game,” said Togo. The 23-year-old allowed no earned runs and struck out six in three innings.

The Taipei Dome hosted a second exhibition game between the CPBL’s Rakuten Monkeys and the Yomiuri Giants on Sunday night, and 30,890 fans were in attendance. The game ended in a scoreless tie.

Although the newly opened Taipei Dome drew 68,780 people this weekend, Jason Pan of the Taipei Times reports fans made numerous complaints regarding the stadium and its operation.

In an article posted on the Taipei Times website, Pan states spectators had multiple issues regarding the new stadium, including a lack of clear signage, escalators breaking, and water leaking from the roof.

Pan reported multiple people were offered new seats away from the water leak, but they did not accept.

“It is an international embarrassment,” Taipei City Councilor Chien Shu-pei told the Taipei Times.

“Before approval was given out for the Dome to operate, city councilors demanded that FarGlory carry out a complete inspection to root out all potential flaws, but they did not do so,” Taipei City Councilor Chan Wei-yuan told Pan.

Finally, Pan stated fans attending the game complained the Taipei Mass Transit Corp did not run the direct train that would have brought them straight to the Taipei Dome, forcing them to go outside in the rain.

So, was the weekend a success or a failure?

One positive aspect of the weekend was the clash between Japanese and Taiwanese baseball fans. The two games allowed people from different backgrounds and nations to share their appreciation and love for the game of baseball.

Hopefully, both the Nippon Professional Baseball League and the Chinese Professional Baseball League continue to host interleague matchups, something fanbases of both leagues clearly want to see, given the record-breaking attendance.

One glaring negative aspect of the weekend is the water leakage and the adverse reports from several fans. According to Focus Taiwan, the Taipei City Government will investigate the water leakage and other reported issues to resolve the matters as soon as possible.

The 2023 Asian Baseball Championship was the Taipei Dome’s official grand opening, hosting 22 games from Dec. 3-10, with a reported attendance of 113,810, or about 5,173 fans per game. The Taipei Dome staff and the stadium were likely unprepared to hold upwards of 35,000 people simultaneously.

Opening Day of the 2024 Nippon Professional Baseball regular season begins on March 29, and the CPBL will start play on March 30.