Recently, there is a boom in the construction of new soccer fields in the KBO League. Jamsil, Sajik, Literature, and Daejeon Stadium are the targets. If these are completed, there will be no home stadiums completed in the 20th century in the KBO League. Some are already forgotten. It is the second home stadium.

In the early days, professional baseball operated a wide-area connection system that recognized the former base city and the entire easement area nearby. The second home stadium, located near the base city, was also recognized as the home club of the related club. At one time, more than half of professional baseball teams operated a second home stadium. There was also a second home stadium that hosted more than 10 first-team matches in a season.

However, in 2000, 스포츠토토the city ointment system, which recognized only one base city as the hometown, was implemented, and the location of the second home stadium was greatly reduced. This is because the justification for holding a professional baseball game in a region other than the hometown has disappeared.

The successive new construction and remodeling of the first home stadium is also a variable. Securing profitability, which is a long-cherished wish of a professional baseball team, is difficult to expect from a second home stadium with a small city and a small stadium. In addition, for the second home stadium game, there is the inconvenience of having to book a separate accommodation like an away game.

Due to overlapping problems, the percentage of first-team games held at the second home stadium is on the decline. Weekend games that can attract large crowds have not been held since the 2018 season. The 2nd home stadium is marginalized in both the quantity and quality of hosting games.

In the 2020 and 2021 seasons, when the Corona 19 incident was serious, there was no first-team game at the second home stadium. In the 2022 season, when things got a little better, a total of 5 games were held on weekdays. Even this was not a regular schedule, but a schedule that was organized later in July. And in the 2023 season, Pohang and Ulsan are scheduled to host 6 games each. However, Cheongju Baseball Stadium is uncertain about hosting a first-team game because of the lack of facility improvement for professional baseball games.

However, the 2nd home stadium is not a simple idiot. This is because the actual box office performance was good despite the capacity to accommodate half of the number of spectators compared to the first home stadium and the small population behind it.

First of all, it is necessary to consider that most of the games at the 2nd home stadium were on weekdays. And let’s take a look at the crowd data on weekdays from 2014, when the most recently completed second home stadium (Ulsan) started hosting first-team games, to 2019, right before the COVID-19 outbreak. During the period, the number of spectators for weekday games at the second home stadium was not significantly different from the number of spectators for weekday games at the first home stadium during the same period. In particular, in 2022, the number of spectators at the 2nd home stadium was higher than that at the 1st home stadium. Considering the fact that the 1st home stadium faced bad news such as the ban on cheering in the first half, and the 2nd home stadium had a small number of games, it is an impressive figure. Contrary to common perception, the mobilization of spectators at the second home stadium does not fall significantly. 

In particular, there were many teams in the metropolitan area in the away team of the 2nd home stadium game. In the three seasons immediately before Corona, about two-thirds of the away teams in the second home stadium are clubs in the metropolitan area. Unless there is a special event, it is almost impossible to sell out the weekday games of provincial clubs. If so, crowd mobilization is much more advantageous when the opposing team is from the same local club.

As such, the crowd mobilization performance of the second home stadium was built under extremely unfavorable conditions of weekday games and matchups centered on clubs in the metropolitan area. This is why the ability to mobilize spectators at the second home stadium cannot be ignored.

The KBO League can also be a breakthrough in overcoming the low birth rate problem. Busan, Daegu, and Daejeon Metropolitan City, which are affiliated cities of local clubs that operate second home stadiums, are particularly severe in population decline and aging among local governments. In a situation where the total number of spectators in professional baseball continues to decline after peaking in 2017, local clubs feel sorry for one fan. 

There is nothing like ‘intuition’ to attract fans. The few matches held in the second home ground are valuable spectator opportunities for the city’s residents. It is a multi-population city and an industrial city, all of which are subject to the exception of large cities, and has the advantage of having many young people with consumption power.

If the second home stadium is ignored simply for the reason of population, it cannot explain the occasional occurrence of regional clubs that exceed the number of spectators of the Seoul club. Through performance or marketing, the second home stadium can always expect an influx of spectators comparable to those in the metropolitan area. A good case is the time when the Hanwha Eagles created a craze in 2015-2016, when former manager Kim Seong-geun took office. During this period, matches at Cheongju Baseball Stadium were sold out with over 10,000 spectators even on weekdays except for one game.

Then, how should we deal with the alienation of the second home stadium? As an alternative, I suggest expanding the schedule of games on weekdays. First of all, it is right to hold the first home stadium for weekend games considering the profitability of the club. However, I think it is right to aim for the influx of new fans by distributing them to the second home stadium for weekday games, where there is not much difference in crowd mobilization.

In addition, from the 2023 season, due to the abolition of the two-game system, there are many remaining games whose schedule has not been confirmed. It is also a good idea to assign some of them to the second home stadium. At the end of the season when games cannot be held every day, how about giving the second home stadium a chance to host a weekend game?

Recently, professional baseball has suffered a lot of difficulties to the extent that it is difficult to progress to the top of the league. However, this year is the season when professional baseball returns to fans after 4 years. It is now necessary to recall once again the existence of the second home stadium, which was completely forgotten during the pandemic.

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