The Samsung Lions players throw their caps in the air to celebrate making it to the championship round for a third consecutive time after defeating the LG Twins at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap
By Kang Seung-woo
The Korean baseball league has seen its attendance mark surpass 7 million for the first time.
According to the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), Tuesday’s four games attracted 39,200 as of 6:30 p.m. to set the new ticket record. The total number of spectators at baseball stadiums this year stood at 6,993,367 as of Monday.
The KBO, founded in 1982, has now become the first pro sports league in Korea to reach 7 million in attendance on its way to establishing itself as the most popular sport in the country. There are also professional leagues for football, basketball and volleyball in Korea.
Last season, buoyed by an unprecedented wave of popularity, eight baseball clubs attracted a total of 6.81 million to ballparks, marking an all-time single season record, and they have set the bar higher at 7.1 million for the 2012 season.
A glimpse of reaching the milestone was already shown during the preseason, as the baseball governing body saw a record 358,561 in attendance at 48 exhibition games, up 46 percent from a year ago.
Four clubs ― the Lotte Giants, Doosan Bears, LG Twins and SK Wyverns ― drew more than 1 million fans and the Busan-based Giants became the first KBO team ever to hit more than 1 million in spectatorship for the fifth-straight year.
The Nexen Heroes also saw its attendance eclipse the 500,000 mark at home for the first time since it joined the league in 2008.