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Gocheok’s big issues include lighting and accessibility

Sept 21,2015
The doors may have finally opened on the Gocheok Sky Dome after seven years of construction, but there are
still a number of urgent problems to
address.

Aside from being difficult to access via public transportation and lacking parking spaces, experts point out there are also problems inside the stadium, some of which have to be fixed before the first big-league pitch can be thrown.

The first problem is the electronic scoreboard, which is poorly positioned and difficult for fans to read.

“I couldn’t see letters from the second-floor seat behind the home plate,” said Nexen Heroes Vice President Namkung Jong-hwan. “I had to screw my eyes to see the letter.”

Kim Yong-dal, a Korea Baseball Organization growth committee member, said that the location of the board is also a problem, saying it will interrupt batters when they are at bat. The Gocheok Sky Dome’s electronic board is in the center of the outfield.

Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corporation President Oh Sung-kyu said they considered moving the electronic board, as dome stadiums in foreign countries put their boards on the side of the outfield, but couldn’t because of how drawn-out the construction process was.

“The electronic board was ordered in 2009 when we didn’t know whether we’d have a half-dome stadium or a full-dome stadium,” Oh said. “That’s why the product’s quality is lower than it should be in Korea’s first full-dome stadium.”

The length of the Gocheok Sky Dome’s electronic board is 24 meters (79 feet), which is small considering the length of the board in Busan’s Sajik Baseball Stadium is 34 meters.

However, replacing the board is unlikely because of its cost. It isn’t clear just how much it would cost to replace the Gocheok Sky Dome’s electronic board, but Sajik Baseball Stadium reported that it cost 3.9 billion won ($3.3 million) to replace its own.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government already said in September 2014 that it would not accept any other changes regarding the stadium, fearing that it would delay completion.

Lighting inside the stadium is also considered a problem because it could interrupt a player trying to catch a fly ball. Oh said that the lighting is being adjusted, but it will not be replaced.

For fans, the small legroom between the seats could be a problem. Currently, infield seats have 55 centimeters of legroom, while outfield seats have 46 centimeters. In other stadiums, the legroom between seats is usually more than 70 centimeters.

BY CHOI MIN-KYOO, JOO KYUNG-DON [joo.kyungdon@joongang.co.kr]


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