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Korean baseball attendance continues to rise

Korean baseball fans are coming out in full force this year and breaking attendance records, according to the Korean Baseball Organization on Tuesday.

Since the season opened on April 7, the nation’s seven stadiums have seen more than 3 million fans come to enjoy the sport as of Tuesday.

The KBO hit the mark just 186 games into the season, breaking last year’s record of 3 million fans in 227 games.

On April 29, attendance numbers hit the million mark just 65 games into the season, and on May 18, the KBO had 2 million fans grace its stands just 126 games into the season. Looking at the growing rate, KBO fans are likely to see more people join their ranks to root for their favorite teams.

The KBO is only a third of the way into the season.

If the pace continues, professional baseball here could see a whopping 9 million fans attending the games.

As of Monday, the Doosan Bears had the highest average attendance with 23,470 fans per game, followed by the Lotte Giants with 23,051 and the LG Twins with 22,477 fans.

The numbers are almost double the average for 2011, with 12,272 fans attending LG Twins games, followed by the Lotte Giants with attendance averaging 11,533 last season.

The Nexen Heroes have seen the biggest increase with 209,374 fans coming out to 21 home games, a 48 percent increase from 2011.

According to the KBO, attendance skyrocketed after Korea’s national team took home gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, possibly making Korea the last Olympic gold medalist in the sport’s history. Baseball will not feature at the upcoming London Olympics.

Korea taking second place in the World Baseball Classic in 2009 also helped attract more fans.

By Robert Lee (robert@heraldcorp.com)
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