They haven’t decided on a stadium, but are they leaving in two years? LG-Doosan, the reason why we can’t just laugh at the ‘Jamsil Dome Stadium’ blueprint

A Major League Baseball (MLB)-class dome stadium will be built in the capital, Seoul. However, plans for a new stadium are being made in a situation where temporary residences for the two teams that will use the stadium have not even been decided.

According to reports from the Seoul Metropolitan Government and Newsis on the 18th, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, who is on a business trip to North America, visited the Rogers Center (home stadium of the Toronto Blue Jays) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on the afternoon of the 16th (local time) and held a state-of-the-art sports, exhibition and convention event including a dome stadium in the Jamsil area. They announced that they would build facilities.

The size of the baseball stadium is about 30,000 seats, and the city of Seoul is considering a plan to build the new stadium in conjunction with a hotel like some Major League Baseball (MLB) stadiums. The goal is to make it possible to watch baseball not only in guest rooms, but also in restaurants and swimming pools. In fact, the Rogers Center that Mayor Oh visited has a hotel near the outfield, and you can actually watch a baseball game from some of the rooms.

Jamsil’s new dome stadium, which is part of the ‘Sports and MICE Complex’ plan to be built at the location of the Seoul Sports Complex in Jamsil, is scheduled to begin in earnest after the end of the 2025 KBO league season. Because it is being built on the site of Jamsil Baseball Stadium, there are plans to open in 2032 after demolishing the current baseball stadium.

The cost will be around 500 billion won, and the project will be handled by Seoul Smart MySpark (tentative name, lead company Hanwha), the preferred negotiating party. Because it is a private investment project, the Hanwha consortium will bear the full cost and have operating rights for 40 years. There is no cost borne by the LG Twins and Doosan Bears, who are currently using Jamsil Baseball Stadium.

If the stadium is built as planned, it will be the second dome baseball stadium in Korea following Gocheok Sky Dome, which opened in 2015. Gocheok Sky Dome, which is currently used as the home of Kiwoom Heroes, is being successfully operated, with various performances and events including baseball games held, despite its relatively small size (capacity of 16,000 seats). Jamsil Dome Stadium, which can accommodate 30,000 people, is quite large compared to overseas standards.

In this year’s KBO League, after the rainy season in July, fall rain continued to fall in September, resulting in many games being canceled due to rain. As a result, the pennant race may only end in mid-October, and the postseason may only end in mid-November. There is a tight schedule due to the rain. In this situation, if a dome stadium is built, especially in Jamsil, where games are held every day, there will be more room to proceed with the 

 league schedule.

In addition, just as Gocheok Sky Dome hosted the first round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC) and the 2019 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier 12 group stage, Jamsil Dome Stadium can also host international competitions. In this way, domestic fans will have frequent opportunities to watch high-quality baseball games.

Although the construction of a dome stadium has many advantages, it also has problems. This is the ‘substitute stadium issue’. Currently, Jamsil Baseball Stadium is jointly used by LG and Doosan. They need to find a new home stadium in two years, but it is not easy for a professional club to find a stadium where they can play 71 or 73 games a year.

The scenario of using Jamsil Main Stadium as an alternative stadium was discarded. This is because the safety of traveling fans is threatened as the entire nearby area turns into a construction site due to the construction of the Sports and MICE Complex.

In Seoul, the hometown of both teams, the only baseball stadiums that professional clubs can use are Gocheok Sky Dome and Mokdong Baseball Stadium. 메이저놀이터 Gocheok Dome is already being used as Kiwoom’s headquarters, and it is rented for events such as concerts even on days when there are no games, making it difficult to coordinate schedules. In addition, Mokdong Baseball Stadium, which was used during the Nexen era, the predecessor of Kiwoom, was an obstacle because nearby residents protested at the time due to lighting and noise issues, and it is currently being used as an amateur-only stadium.

However, leaving one’s hometown is even more difficult. Within the metropolitan area, there are SSG Landers Field in Incheon (home stadium of SSG Landers) and KT Wiz Park in Suwon (home stadium of KT Wiz), but it is not easy to live in a rented room for 6 years in a place other than your hometown. They could easily follow in the footsteps of the Hyundai Unicorns of the past, who lost popularity after leaving Incheon, their hometown, and making Suwon their temporary home. There are second stadiums in the provinces, such as Pohang Baseball Stadium and Ulsan Munsu Stadium, but this option is also unrealistic because it is a different place from the current fan background of LG and Doosan.

What’s more problematic is that after only announcing the plan for a new stadium, they didn’t even decide on a plan for a replacement stadium for the team that uses Jamsil as their home. Yeo Jang-kwon, head of Seoul City’s Balanced Development Headquarters, said, “Which stadium the two teams will use during construction is a matter that requires consideration,” adding, “Consultation between the clubs is necessary.”

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) is said to have previously discussed the construction of Jamsil Dome Stadium in Seoul and requested that Doosan and LG prepare an alternative stadium to use during the construction period. However, only a few options were reviewed, and no specific decision has yet been made.

The home stadium issue is an important issue for the club. The management team cannot help but worry about financial issues such as audience income and advertising. Additionally, players may also have problems adjusting to their home ground. Despite such an important agenda, the city of Seoul only released a ‘sweet blueprint’ without establishing any measures.

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