Korean Baseball: A New MLB?

Korean_Baseball_AllisonWriter: Martin F.

Visual: Allison L.

Editor: Lucas V.

The Coronavirus pandemic has suspended most of our favourite forms of entertainment, one of which is Major League Baseball, usually broadcasted on ESPN. As a result of this cancellation, the popular sports channel announced a partnership with the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), in which they would broadcast 6 games a week, as a result of the MLB’s cancellation, effective May 5. While this change may have seemed abrupt, ESPN’s decision to broadcast these games has been received mostly with positivity from baseball fans worldwide. 

The KBO League, formerly known as the Korea Baseball Championship, is the highest level of baseball in South Korea. The league was created in 1982 with  only 6 teams. Throughout its 38 year history, the number of teams eventually expanded to 10. While the league’s attendance rates met a slight decline of 10 percent last year, attendance is expected to rise  due to the deal with ESPN. Korean baseball fans can expect an influx of viewers from sports fans worldwide, including some of ISM’s own students. 

Many ISM students had positive things to say about ESPN’s decision to broadcast KBO games. “It’s a good change of pace!” says Matteo, an enthusiastic baseball fan.He continues, “watching the same teams over and over again can get repetitive from time to time, especially in baseball, as a casual viewer, it’s good to see different teams on the television.” Another student, Ignacio M. had similar opinions on the topic. “It’s not exactly the MLB,” he explained, “but if it’s more baseball I’m willing to see at least a bit of variety from time to time.” 

While the Coronavirus has cancelled the beloved Major League Baseball games, the circumstances may replace that by bringing a larger following to the KBO in Korea. Time will decide if the KBO will  reach a similar following to that of the MLB, or maybe even a greater following in the future.