Even though professional baseball started out in all kinds of bad news, it finished the first half with a good performance at the box office. The number of spectators has increased by more than 30% compared to last year, and expectations for exceeding 8 million spectators for the first time in five years since 2018 are also growing.
The 2023 season of professional baseball began in a gloomy atmosphere. All kinds of bad news hit us ahead of the season.
The beginning of the bad news is the first round dropout of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), which is referred to as the ‘Tokyo Disaster’.
Korean baseball, which felt a sense of crisis due to the recent decline in baseball popularity, tried to use it as a catalyst for a rebound by advancing to the semifinals at the WBC this year, but was humiliated by being eliminated in the first round. Losing to Australia, which was considered to be under one step in terms of power, and losing to Japan 4-13, he accepted the report card of being eliminated in the first round for three consecutive times.
Deviations from players and general managers, and misconduct were also elements that could disappoint fans.
Former Lotte Giants pitcher Seo Jun-won was handed over to trial on charges of violating the Act on the Protection of Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents (making and distributing sexual exploitation, etc.) after asking a minor victim whom he met online in August of last year to take a picture of his body and send it to him. Former KIA Tigers general manager Jang Jeong-seok was sacked after it was revealed that he demanded back money in the process of negotiating a free agent (FA) contract with catcher Park Dong-won (LG Twins).
A day before the opening, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) was seized and searched by the prosecution. An executive of KBOP, a subsidiary of KBO, was indicted on charges of breach of trust and violation of the Act on Concealment of Criminal Proceeds.
Even after the start of the season, the bad news continued. Right after the opening, LG outfielder Chun-Woong Lee was involved in an illegal gambling case, and right before the end of the first half, the SSG Landers Futures (second team) team suffered a group brutality and assault, which shocked them.
Nevertheless, box office success from the opening of the season is a green light.
It was hot from the start. On April 1st, the opening game at the 5 stadiums was full of spectators. All stadiums were sold out, and a total of 105,450 spectators on the first day of the opening, recording the second highest number of spectators for an opening match ever.
It was the first time in 11 years since 2012, when the team had 8 teams, that all stadiums were sold out before the opening game. It was the first time in the 10 club system that the stadium was filled with spectators before the opening game.
Even though the season went on, the enthusiasm for professional baseball did not cool down.
Professional baseball, which achieved 3 million spectators in 271 games, the 6th lowest ever, surpassed 4 million spectators in its opening 364 games. This is the 4th fastest pace ever, following 2018 (328 games), 2016 (334 games), and 2017 (341 games). Even in 2019, before the spread of Corona 19, it exceeded 4 million spectators in 364 games.
Until the first half, a total of 397 games were attended by 4,412,020 spectators. Compared to 3,312,999 spectators for the same number of matches last year, this is a 33% increase.
The largest increase in the number of spectators for home games is Kiwoom Heroes, who finished runner-up in the Korean Series last year and dreamed of winning the first championship. Last year, 188,070 people attended 44 home games, but this year, 336,311 people attended 44 games, a whopping 79% increase.
The NC Dinos, who were aiming to enter the top spot by June, saw a 78% increase in home game spectators, and the Hanwha Eagles, which boasted a last-minute rise in the first half and escaped from the ‘last in 10,000 years’, also saw a 44% increase in spectators.
Lotte, which is raising hopes for fall baseball, also saw a 51% increase in home game spectators from 337,912 in 38 games last year to 509,248 in the same number of games this year.
The hot ranking battle and the expectation of entering the fall baseball together with the alliance of’Ellotgi (LG, Lotte, KIA)’, a popular national club, had a significant impact on the box office.
Until the end of the first half, an all-time ranking battle unfolded in the middle ranks. Lotte, which continued to promote until May, and NC, which recorded 13 wins, 1 draw, and 9 losses during the month of June, slowed down, and as KIA, KT Wiz, and Hanwha were on the rise, the fight for mid-ranking became more fierce than ever. The ride was so tight that the ranks rose significantly when winning streaks, and fell vertically when losing streaks.
After a fierce ranking battle, the first half ended with only 6.5 games between Doosan Bears in 3rd place and Kiwoom Heroes in 9th place.
The battle for the lead throughout the first half was fierce. While Lotte has fallen somewhat since May, LG and SSG competed. As SSG stagnated in June, LG finished the first half with a lead of 2.5 games ahead of second place SSG.
Leading LG, KIA and Lotte, which are exploring the possibility of advancing to the postseason, are attracting considerable spectators. In terms of the average number of spectators at home games in the first half, LG ranked first with 16,479, and Lotte ranked third with 13,401. KIA is ranked 6th with 10,034 people.
SSG, which competed for the lead with LG, was in second place with an average attendance of 14,520 in the first half.
Each team sees mid-July or August as the starting point. As a result, the battle for rankings is expected to become more intense in the second half of the year. If LG, Lotte, and KIA continue the possibility of advancing to the postseason jointly, it can act as a good news for box office success.
Professional baseball mobilized 8,339,577 spectators in 2016, opening the era of 8 million spectators for the first time.오래된 토토사이트
Professional baseball, which maintained 8 million spectators in 2017 and 2018, recorded a decline of 7,286,008 spectators in 2019.
Since then, professional baseball, which has not normally received spectators due to Corona 19-related regulations, only had 6,076,000 spectators last year when the restrictions were lifted.
But this year, it is worth dreaming of breaking through 8 million spectators in 5 years.