Arizona = Reporter Jeong Se-young
Heo Gu-yeon, president of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), is continuing his wide-ranging steps to host the 2024 KBO League in the United States. President Heo, who arrived in Los Angeles, California, USA on the 12th (Korean time), moved to Phoenix, Arizona on the 15th and met with Commissioner Rob Manfred, who leads the American Professional Baseball Major League (MLB), to discuss hosting the 2024 KBO League opening game in the United States. . This is the second time the two have met since the meeting in New York in June of last year. At this meeting, President Huh delivered a plan for the KBO club, which had completed off-season training in Arizona, to play its opening game in California, which has the largest number of Koreans in the United States, and received a positive response from Commissioner Manfred.
A positive atmosphere is sensed here and there over the U.S. hosting of the KBO League opening game next year. Dodger Stadium (LA), Angel Stadium (Anaheim), and Petco Park (San Diego), which are the candidates for the venue, are also actively attracting the opening match. Starting with the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 24 last year, President Huh visited the Angels on the 25th and San Diego on the 26th. President Heo hinted, “I received a warm welcome from all clubs.” In addition, it is heard that the MLB Secretariat is actively hosting the KBO League opening game in the United States to relieve some kind of emotional debt over the cancellation of the KBO/MLB All-Star Game scheduled to be held in November last year in Korea.
However, there are many hurdles to overcome before actually hosting the event in the US. First of all, cost is the biggest issue. Recently, the dollar-won exchange rate has skyrocketed. As of March 2022, the won-dollar exchange rate is around 1,100 won. However, it recently exceeded 1,300 won. In order to use the MLB stadium, you have to pay a rental fee, and even if you get the cooperation of the MLB secretariat, you have to pay a formidable amount.
The cost of stay is also a variable. The training period for a KBO league team in the US is about one month. If you stay in the United States after the training camp and stay until the opening game, the cost of your stay increases exponentially. Currently, the cost of a month’s stay for clubs undergoing training in the United States is around 1 billion won. SSG (Florida), KT, KIA, Hanwha, NC, LG, and Kiwoom (above Arizona), who set up camps in the US this year, are complaining that “the cost of camping has increased by at least 50%” due to the soaring won-dollar exchange rate. An official from a club said, “I think there will be many clubs canceling training next year in the United States due to the rapidly rising cost of staying.” 메이저사이트
The fact that the current KBO league clubs are not very active is also a stumbling block. One baseball player said, “If the US KBO League opening game is held in mid-March, it overlaps with the exhibition game schedule. I wonder if there will be a club that will do it in ,” he worried. Also, a coach I met in Arizona said, “I agree with the KBO’s intention to globalize, but it is questionable how many fans will find an MLB stadium that can accommodate more than 50,000 people.”
President Huh is concentrating his efforts on hosting the opening game of the KBO League next year in the United States. This is the full operation of the MLB human network that has been built up so far. He is also promoting a plan to play an exhibition game with an MLB club for a club participating in the opening game in the United States. President Huh expected, “If we play the opening game in the United States, the value of the KBO League can be increased. The parent groups of each club that has entered the US market will also be able to enjoy a great publicity effect.”