NPB’s 2023 season to begin at Fighters’ new stadium

The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters will begin their 2023 season at their new stadium on March 30 against the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, a day before the other Nippon Professional Baseball teams play, according to the schedule released Monday by the Pacific League.

Until this year, the Fighters played their regular-season home games not only at Sapporo Dome but also in other cities of Hokkaido. In 2023, all of their home games will be played at Es Con Field in Kitahiroshima, just outside Sapporo.

Nippon Ham and Rakuten swapped the rights to host their season openers in 2023 and 2024 in order to allow the Fighters to start next year at the new ballpark.

On March 31, the Seibu Lions host the Japan Series champion Orix Buffaloes at Belluna Dome in Saitama, while the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks take on the Chiba Lotte Marines at PayPay Dome in Fukuoka.

The Central League will have three season-opening games on March 31.