‘Expecting’ 8 million people at the box office despite bad news

Reporter Kim Hee-jun = Professional baseball ended the first half of the year with a strong showing at the box office, despite starting off with all kinds of bad news. With attendance up more than 30 percent from last year, expectations are growing for the league to surpass 8 million spectators for the first time in five years since 2018.

The 2023 season of professional baseball began in a gloomy mood. All sorts of bad news hit the league ahead of the season.

It started with the first-round elimination from the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), which was dubbed the “Tokyo Disaster.

The Korean baseball team, which has been experiencing a decline in the popularity of baseball in recent years, was hoping to use this year’s WBC as a catalyst for a rebound by reaching the quarterfinals. The team was swept by Australia, which was considered a powerhouse, and lost to Japan 4-13, making it three consecutive first-round exits.

Players, managers, and misconduct also left fans disappointed.

Former Lotte Giants pitcher Seo Jun-won went on trial last August for violating the Sexual Protection of Children and Adolescents Act (production and distribution of sexually exploitative material) and other charges for having an underage victim, whom he met online, take and send nude photos of herself. Jang Jeong-seok, the former manager of the KIA Tigers, was suspended after it was revealed that he asked for money during free-agent contract negotiations with catcher Park Dong-won (LG Twins).

A day before the start of the season, the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) was raided by prosecutors. Mr. A, an executive at KBOP, a subsidiary of the KBO, was indicted on charges of embezzlement and violation of the Criminal Proceeds of Crime Act.

The bad news continued after the season started. Shortly after the opening, LG outfielder Lee Chun-woong was involved in an illegal gambling case, and just before the end of the first half, the SSG Landers Futures (second team) team was shocked by a group hazing and assault.

Nonetheless, the box office has been promising since the start of the season.

The opening game was hot. On April 1, the opening games at all five stadiums drew capacity crowds. The sellouts brought in a total of 105,450 fans on opening day, the second highest opening day attendance in history.

It was the first time in 11 years since 2012, when the league was an eight-team format, that the league sold out all of its stadiums before opening day. It was the first time the 10-team system had ever had a full stadium before Opening Day.바카라사이트

As the season progressed, the fervor for professional baseball continued to grow.

After reaching 3 million fans in 271 games, the sixth-fewest games in history, the league surpassed 4 million fans in the opening 364 games. This is the fourth-fastest pace in history, behind only 2018 (328 games), 2016 (334 games), and 2017 (341 games). In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league also surpassed 4 million fans in 364 games.

Through the first half of the year, 397 games have been attended by 4.41 million fans. That’s a 33% increase from the 3.329 million fans who attended the same number of games last year.

The biggest increase in home attendance came from the Kiwoom Heroes, who finished as runners-up in last year’s Korean Series and raised their dreams of winning their first championship. Last year, they had 180,870 fans in 44 home games, but this year, they had 336,311 fans in 44 games, a whopping 79% increase in attendance.

NC Da, who were aiming for the top spot by June