2015 KBO Attendance Unimpressive

According to mykbo.net, as of September 27, 2015, South Korea’s KBO topped seven million in total attendance for the second time in league history.  However, while that sounds great, because KBO added a 10th team in 2015 (the KT Wiz), average attendance through the season’s first 690 games was only 10,158, the lowest since 2007.  With only 30 more regular season games to play as of September 27th, it’s doubtful the final per game average attendance changed much by season’s end.

KBO’s failure to improve attendance in recent seasons is a cause for concern, since the league has added two new teams in the last few years, and salaries for the most talented veterans are escalating rapidly.  Two years ago, the league raised the roster limits on foreign players from two to three, and foreign players are relatively highly paid, although none are paid as well as the very best South Korean players who have reached their KBO free agency.

Like Japan’s NPB, KBO teams are owned by large corporations that see the teams as advertising and public relations vehicles.  However, with ten teams in a country of 49 million, compared to 12 NPB teams in a country of 127 million, KBO is never going to have the same kind of TV and advertising revenues that NPB teams enjoy.  Thus, if KBO wants to stop NPB from poaching its best players and put on a world class baseball product, it needs to improve its attendance figures dramatically.

Based on this year’s NPB attendance figures, NPB could, if it wanted to, increase the number of relatively expensive foreign players on its rosters from four to six (I’ve suggested a way to do that wouldn’t overly disadvantage low revenue NPB teams).  However, I can’t see any possibility of KBO teams increasing the current foreign player roster limit of three any time soon unless league attendance improves significantly.

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2 Comments on “2015 KBO Attendance Unimpressive”

  1. Ren Says:

    Bad weather is also a factor in that attendance drop. There was a report about this in YTN a month ago that the number of rain delays and cancelled games increased compared to last year due to bad weathering.

  2. Burly Says:

    Final average per game attendance for the 2015 season was 10,223. Only two teams, the LG Twins and the Doosan Bears, drew as many as 1,000,000 fans in 2014 or 2015. Only two other teams drew 800,000 or more fans. The expansion KT Wiz drew a respectable by KBO standards 8,965 per game in 2015.


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