AKB Group Draft as reported by Nikkan Sports
The Kyocera Dome performances of AKB48 Group ended on the 8th, with the announcement of an audition event called “Draft Conference” at Grand Prince New Takanawa on November 10th.
According to the management, an open call for sign-ups will start in September. The pool of candidates will go through multiple evaluation rounds, and the final pool will be presented to all team captains of AKB48, SKE48, NMB48 and HKT48. When a captain picks a candidate and the candidate agrees to the negotiation, then the candidate becomes a kenkyuusei of that particular team.
As for the status after being picked, at first it was announced that the candidate will become a regular member, but after the concert was over, the management issued a notice saying that was an error and the candidate will only become a kenkyuusei.
The management wants to make this event comparable to Senbatsu Sousenkyo as well as the Janken Tournament.
Just like the professional baseball draft, the candidates cannot pick where they want to go geographically. Even the venue is the same as the one used for professional baseball draft. Management is now working on rules/guidelines for the draft.
Group-specific auditions will still be held regularly, just like how some baseball players were employed without going through the draft, or were employed as “test players”.
The captains are already meeting and discussing about what they are looking for in these candidates, such as “people that can really dance” or “people that are really good at MC”.