Japan gets first female baseball club owner

TOMOKO Namba, the founder of mobile gaming company DeNA, has taken over ownership of DeNA BayStars to become the first female owner of a Japanese professional baseball club, the team said Friday.

“I may better understand the sentiment of female fans than men,” the 52-year-old millionaire told a news conference in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo.

“I want to build a strong, enjoyable team loved by fans,” she said of the high-profile club, based in the city.

The Harvard graduate established DeNA in 1999 but stepped down as the company’s chief executive officer in 2011, the same year the firm bought the Central League club.

Namba, now a board member of the firm, was listed in Forbes in 2013 as having a net worth of $545 million.

Makoto Haruta, who had acted as the club owner since 2012, has stepped down.

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