Fan Experience

Fighters fans invited to sample sauna experience at new ballpark

The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball club has launched a lottery for fans to buy tickets for a sauna experience at its new stadium, ES CON Field Hokkaido.

The stadium is set to open for the 2023 Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) season, which begins in March. It has a capacity of 35,000 and features a retractable roof.

A hotel and spa will form part of the stadium’s left field, with fans now able to enter their name in a lottery to sample the experience during the first four days of the season. Field-view hotel rooms will range from 132,000 yen (£823/€931/$1,012) to 165,000 yen for a suite.

In November, the Fighters apologised after an agreement was reached that will allow it to commence the 2023 season in its new ballpark, despite the venue not conforming to league rules.

The problem emerged after it was revealed that part of the field at ES CON Field Hokkaido fails to meet the standard set out by the official baseball rules in Japan, which stipulate that 60 feet is required from the home plate to the backstop, and from the base lines to the fences, stands or other obstacles in the foul territory.

The stadium does not fulfil the criteria and a plan has been proposed to carry out repair works at the stadium in the close seasons of 2023 and 2024 so that the venue will be up to standard for the 2025 campaign.

The Fighters’ first game at the new stadium will be on March 30.