First time lucky for KBO’s 100 millionth visitorThe Korea Baseball Organization achieved a milestone by welcoming its 100 millionth fan yesterday, becoming the first professional league in Korea to reach the attendance mark.
The lucky fan was Ahn Baek-cheol, 13, a first-year student at Galsan Middle School in Incheon. Ahn had gone to the game between SK Wyverns and Lotte Giants in Incheon at the urging of his friend and it was his first time taking in a live baseball game.
Ahn received a lifetime free pass to KBO games, tickets to the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games in November and 2 million won ($1,647) worth of gift certificates.
“It’s my first time at a baseball game. I don’t have a favorite team or a particular player I like but I’d heard that SK was a good team and that’s why I came to the game today,” said Ahn.
The teenager is expected to toss the ceremonial first pitch for the SK Wyverns against the Hanwha Eagles on June 1.
The 99,999,999th and 100,000,001st visitors were also given free season passes to all KBO stadiums as well as free tickets to the Guangzhou Asian Games.
With sold-out crowds at the four games on May 29, the all-time attendance numbers stood 33,632 short of the 100 million mark prior to yesterday’s 5 p.m. start. An impressive total of 81,400 fans in Jamsil, Mokdong, Incheon and Gwangju turned out yesterday.
According to data provided by the KBO, a total of 1.4 million fans attended baseball games in 1982. The league saw the total attendance break the 3 million mark for the first time in 1990, and total attendance broke the 5 million mark in 2008 after the national team won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Korea then finished runner-up at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, prompting a record-setting attendance record of a little over 5.9 million fans last season.
By Jason Kim [firstname.lastname@example.org]