Why the Padres/Dodgers/MLB are going to China

What's in it for the Padres to go to China? What's in it for anybody? To me, I don't get why you wouldn't want to make an appearance in China. It seems like an all upside proposition to me. This is what I'm looking at:

Players/Coaches - Get to eat some Chinese food.

Front Office and Scouts - Establish relationships with existing Chinese baseball entities. I really didn't like the move that the Padres made in building the Dominican Republic Academy. Like I said then, the other academies that are already in the Dominican had such a head start on us that I truly believe our academy is training players who fully intend to never play for the Padres. At this point, building a new academy in the Dominican is a break even proposition.

If the Padres build relationships in China early (in comparison to other teams), the team could establish a presence to develop and sign talent and be among the first movers as opposed to the also-rans. Also, the counterpoint to Enzo Hernandez's argument, which I'm sure he's well aware of, is that there's nobody willing to learn baseball on Mars, while there are a good number of people in China.

MLB in General - The establishment of Chinese baseball academies similar to what's found in the Dominican means that baseball becomes more organized in the country, which leads to globalization of the sport. It hurt - a lot - to have baseball and softball get kicked out of the Olympics. Now that the Olympics are in China, it makes sense for baseball to have a presence there to reaffirm its international presence.

Lots of people - One argument for going to China that I don't think can be stressed enough is the fact that there are over a billion people there, give or take several hundred million. Just to put it in perspective, this year's Super Bowl was the most watched ever with something like 97 million viewers. The number of Chinese viewers who tuned in to watch the Rockets play the Bucks was over 200 million. Granted, we're not going to get that, but there's something to be said for being able to completely blow away Super Bowl numbers with a regular season NBA game just because Chinese guys are playing in it. I guarantee you that people in China weren't aware of Milwaukee before Yi Jianlin showed up there.

Merchandising opportunities - Look at this passage from A Modern Lei Feng:

while the sport still isn't popular [in China], they've released a clothing line that can be found in higher end malls that is modestly popular, especially with hip hoppers.
We all know which MLB team "hip hoppers" love. What with Western culture being as addicting as it is, who isn't to say that several thousand Chinese youths wouldn't look to emulate Snoop Dogg or Missy Elliott with some Padres gear?

This is all very rambling. Basically, my point is that there aren't many short term benefits to visiting China, but there are many more long term benefits and overall, I approve of sending some dudes out there to scope it out.
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