The Korea Baseball Organization’s board of directors announced on Tuesday that it will review information regarding the establishment of a 10th team.
The decision of the pro baseball governing body is a reversal from its earlier decision on June 19 to postpone the discussion.
The decision is thought to be a result of the increasing pressure of fans, local governments and players. The Korea Professional Baseball Players Association announced that its players would boycott the All-Star Game and World Baseball Classic after hearing the result of the previous meeting.
“The club heads agreed that it is not appropriate to show fans a negative image, and that we must continue to hold the All-Star Games,” said KBO Secretary General Yang Hae-young after the meeting.
“There was a proposal that was well developed,” said Yang who added that he would discuss the proposal with the players’ association.
However, Yang failed to mention specific developments that were made in the proposal.
It was reported that teams opposing a 10th club, including Samsung, Lotte and Hanwha, did not reject the proposal, unlike in previous meetings.
The 31-year-old Korean pro baseball league approved the launch of a ninth team, the NCsoft Dinos based in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, last month. The team is set to enter the league next season.
The board also finalized the number of games played collectively by the nine teams next year at 576, cutting the number of games played by each team from 133 to 128.
In order to promote the sport within the country and widen the talent pool, the board also decided to fund the creation of clubs at elementary, middle and high school levels.
The KBO will provide up to 30 million won ($26,000) to new elementary school teams, 150 million won for middle school teams and 400 million won for high school teams over the course of three years.
The Korean pro baseball league started with six clubs in 1982, and the Binggrae Eagles were created as the seventh club in 1986. Binggrae was renamed the Hanwha Eagles in 1993. In 1991, the Ssangbangwool Raiders joined the league, and from then, the league maintained the eight-team format. When the Ssangbangwool Raiders disbanded in 2000, the SK Wyverns entered the league.
Pro baseball is one of the most popular sports here in Korea, which saw 6.8 million spectators last year and is expected to hit 8 million this year. Halfway through the season, baseball stadiums have seen 4.5 million fans fill its bleachers.
By Robert Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)