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Sunday, June 19, 2011

HeatDevils endangered again

Staff writer

The Oita HeatDevils have made a plea for fans and businesses to step up and offer financial support for the coming season. On Friday, the bj-league club announced on its website that it needs ¥45 million by June 24 or it will be difficult to field a team for the 2011-12 season.

The HeatDevils projected they need a budget of ¥125 million for next season and already have secured ¥80 million.

Oita went 16-32 last season and missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season. The HeatDevils, one of the league's original six teams, lost their final 11 games last season. They have had among the league's worst home attendance figures for the past few seasons, including less than 1,000 per game in 2010-11.

In May 2009, after the team had completed an 8-44 campaign, "Save the HeatDevils" signs were on display at Ariake Colosseum during the Final Four as the team was in danger of pulling out of the league due to financial problems. New management took over the team and the league offered assistance, but the HeatDevils have continued to be plagued by financial woes.

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