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Local tire company lifts sponsorship moratorium on baseball club

All Headlines 12:36 May 02, 2018

SEOUL, May 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean tire company Nexen Tire said Wednesday it will pay sponsorship fees for a troubled baseball club after all, ending a moratorium over the team's problems in the front office.

Nexen Tire is the main corporate sponsor for the Nexen Heroes, a Seoul-based club in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO). The tire manufacturer has been shelling out a reported 10 billion won (US$9.3 million) annually in exchange for putting its name on the team since 2010.

This file photo from Sept. 15, 2015, shows Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, home of the Korea Baseball Organization club Nexen Heroes. (Yonhap)

But Nexen Tire withheld its monthly payments in March and April, after the Heroes' former CEO, Lee Chang-suk, was convicted on embezzlement charges in February.

The company asked the Heroes to come up with measures to improve their overall management in light of Lee's conviction. Nexen Tire said the ball club's report was still unsatisfactory, but it decided to make its payments to help ensure stability in the KBO.

"We've had a chance to speak with the club representatives on several occasions, and their proposals for improvements still fell well short of fans' expectations," the tire company said. "But we decided to pay our fees for the remainder of the season to prevent any damage to the 10-club structure in the league, and we also took into account baseball fans and players who should concentrate on action on the field."

Nexen Tire also said it will continue to monitor the Heroes' efforts to right the ship in the front office.

"We'll try to set a good precedent for corporate sponsorship in the league," it added. "We don't want to just make financial contributions. We'll try to co-exist and grow together with fans, the ball club and the league."

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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