A Dark Day for KBO Baseball Fans
South Korea’s KBO has announced new rules barring fans from bringing in their own beer and soju (South Korea’s most popular distilled spirit ranging anywhere from about 40 to 70 proof) into the ballparks.
While it’s certainly a dark day for KBO fans, it was more or less inevitable that KBO teams would eventually bar outside alcohol because captive-market priced alcohol is simply too big a revenue stream to let go by uncaptured, particularly when you can claim that your motivation is simply to reduce excessive drinking at the ballpark and the problems that come with it.
It’s also a sign that KBO is feeling its oats and is confident in its increased expansion. When you’re trying to bring in every last fan you can, you let them bring in their own market-priced booze. When you are confident the fans will come regardless, you ban outside booze and charge captive-market prices inside the park.
One day soon KBO fans will get to know the joys of $8 drafts and finding creative or not-so-creative ways to smuggle in their own affordably priced 200 ml bottles of the strong stuff. Absent a pat-down, it’s just about impossible to catch the half-pints.
Soju is clear, which raises the interesting question whether team employees will be sniffing every plastic water bottle that fans try to bring into the stadia. My guess is not.
Enough fans will follow the new rules and pay captive market prices, making it unwise to police every water bottle entering the stadium, because of the risk of offending paying customers. Employees may, however, insist that only factory-sealed water bottles are allowed inside the park. If so, fall back on smuggling in the half-pints.