Yokohama DeNA Baystars​​​​​​​
Created by modifying "Yokohama Stadium" (©江戸村のとくぞう (Licensed under CC BY 4.0))

When Can a Struggling Baseball Team Be the Pride of City’s Citizens?


Yokohama DeNA BayStars is a professional baseball team with its home stadium based in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Although BayStars won the national title in 1998, the team has struggled to perform since the 2000s, and its finances have struggled as well. Furthermore, it was hard to say that their promotion was fully effective against people other than conventional baseball fans. While the citizens knew about the team, they had little relationship with it.

The team had many challenges, such as expanding the fan base and improving its finances. In such a state, it was bought by DeNA in 2011. With the rise of various sports and the diversification of entertainment, baseball, once a national sport loved by men and women of all ages, is facing headwinds. In that context, what would it have taken for BayStars to get out of its struggling predicament and become the pride of the city’s citizens?



A Team’s Change Becomes the Branding of the City of Yokohama.


Starting in 2012, Yokohama DeNA BayStars adopted the Ballpark Transformation Concept aimed to make the home stadium/Yokohama Stadium feel closer to citizens so that they can be proud of it. With our office next to the stadium, and as well as our special passion for the city of Yokohama, we participated in promoting this concept from its initial stages.

In this project, our design strategy was not the branding of the baseball team but the branding of Yokohama, and we encouraged the rebranding based on this strategy. 
We aimed to foster civic pride by relating to the identity of Yokohama, a port city brimming with exotic charm and a pioneering spirit, and turning the baseball team into something closer to its citizens.

A significant background to this strategy was the unique history of the city of Yokohama. Its history as a city was relatively short, as Yokohama emerged with the opening of its port about 150 years ago. As a result, the port town has a rare Western influence to it from its early history. Furthermore, the opening of the Yokohama port was at the same time as when the baseball culture in the U.S. was starting to emerge. In other words, the Baystars are the only baseball team in Japan that, by pursuing a hometown identity, can embody the atmosphere of the good old days in the U.S, the country of where baseball originated from, and can get the closest to the essence of baseball.​​​​​​​




We started with the +B Strategy; a strategy that conveyed to the citizens how rich daily life can be with baseball. Based on this strategy, we worked on the branding of the lifestyle brand +B and the design direction of the coffee counter, BALLPARK COFFEE. 

“+B” is a brand that offers a wide range of attractive items suitable for everyday use, such as mugs and stationery, in addition to fan merchandise that has always been a staple among fans. We established a design code to serve as a guideline for companies and brands in Yokohama to develop collaborative items with the brand. This has made it possible for the brand to work with many collaborators while maintaining the brand’s tone and manner, thus reducing development costs and simultaneously achieving branding that will grow the team’s fan base.

 私たちはまず、市民に野球とともに過ごす日常の豊かさを伝えていく「+B」戦略にもとづき、ライフスタイルブランド「+B」のブランディングや、コーヒーカウンター「BALLPARK COFFEE」のデザインディレクションを手がけました。 


The logo was inspired by the text on signboards used in stores and hotels in Yokohama at the time the port first opened, as well as by the slab serif font reminiscent of the good old days of America. The logo seeks to superimpose the hip atmosphere of Yokohama as the birthplace of baseball in Japan and a port city open to the world with memories of the good old days of America, the motherland of baseball.


In addition, through the direction of the sports-centric complex “THE BAYS,” which is focused on community-building, and of “&9,” a café and bar in the complex, we formulated a design strategy to bring the BayStars and baseball closer to the people working and living in the city of Yokohama. This was followed by the branding of “DOCK OF BAYSTARS YOKOSUKA,” the second team’s new home equipped with a training facility and players’ dormitory, as well as the development of the team’s official font “BayStars Sans.”

さらに、スポーツを軸にしたコミュニティ醸成を目指す複合施設「THE BAYS」、同施設内のカフェ&バー「&9」などのディレクションを通じて、横浜の街で働き、暮らす人たちと、ベイスターズや野球の存在を近づけるデザイン戦略を描きました。続いて、2軍チームの練習場や選手寮などが集まる新拠点「DOCK OF BAYSTARS YOKOSUKA」のブランディング、球団の公式フォント「ベイスターズサンズ」の開発などを行いました。

After that, NOSIGNER’s Eisuke Tachikawa also worked with BayStars and ACY Arts Commission Yokohama (Yokohama Arts Foundation) and launched We Brand Yokohama, an initiative aimed at fostering communities of corporations and individuals that make Yokohama more exciting to improve civic pride. BayStars has been part of this project, sharing its philosophy, and conducting activities. 
Meetings that were held actively for about two years have resulted in a variety of activities, including the "YOXO" innovation policy of the City of Yokohama, which has served as a venue for accelerating innovation from Yokohama.

The BayStars have grown into a popular baseball team. Yokohama Stadium has also been getting full houses more frequently. With these developments, we created commemorative medals to be awarded to the audience every time the stadium is completely filled. In the past, the reward for a full house was a 500 yen cash refund. By changing the reward into a medal commemorating their priceless viewing experience, we boosted fan satisfaction and significantly reduced the team's operation costs.
その後NOSIGNERの太刀川英輔は、ベイスターズと横浜市芸術文化振興財団「ACY アーツコミッションヨコハマ」とともに、横浜を盛り上げる企業や個人によるコミュニティの醸成、シビックプライドの向上を目指す「We Brand Yokohama」を立ち上げました。このプロジェクトにはベイスターズも参加しており、理念を同じくして活動を続けています。


Becoming the City’s Central Figure in Fostering Civic Pride.


As a result of the series of initiatives, the attendance of about 1.1 million people in 2011 grew to 1.94 million people in 2016 and 2.28 million people in 2021. The team became extremely popular, filling the seats of Yokohama Stadium every day.
The project has produced wonderful results, including more opportunities for the team to progress in its annual rankings.
The series of initiatives implemented based on our strategy for “+B” has also resulted in the release of hit products such as BayStars ale, a beer produced in collaboration with the local brewery Yokohama Bay Brewing, thereby allowing the team to achieve profitability from a management perspective.

The BayStars have become a focal point for fostering civic pride among the citizens of Yokohama, and have become an entity that enhances the brand and attractiveness of the city of Yokohama itself. We dream of a future in which the support of the citizens of Yokohama will one day lead the team to achieve its long-cherished dream of becoming the number one baseball team in Japan.​​​​​​​



Yokohama DeNA Baystars
Art Direction
NOSIGNER (Eisuke Tachikawa)
Graphic Design
NOSIGNER (Eisuke Tachikawa, Takeshi Kawano)
Space Design
ON design partners (Osamu Nishida)
METHOD (Yu Yamada)

Yokohama, Japan

WOLDA Awards of Excellence (2018)

Related projects:
Dock of Baystars Yokosuka

Back to Top