(LEAD) LG Twins, Doosan Bears to temporarily play at Olympic main stadium for 5 seasons

The LG Twins and the Doosan Bears will temporarily relocate to the main Olympic stadium in southern Seoul while their current baseball stadium undergoes reconstruction, Seoul officials said Tuesday. As part of Seoul's broader construction plan to transform the Jamsil area into a major sports and entertainment district, the Jamsil Baseball Stadium, currently home to LG and Doosan, will undergo reconstruction to become a 30,000-seat domed stadium to open in March 2032. During the five seasons from 2027-2031, the two baseball clubs will relocate to the Jamsil Olympic Stadium, a 60,000-seat venue, which will be temporarily renovated to an 18,000-capacity ballpark, Seoul city officials said. Additional seats will be made available to accommodate up to 30,000 spectators during major games or postseason events. The two clubs and the city will have further discussions on how those games will be selected. With a renovation budget between 30 billion won (US$21.7 million) to 40 billion won, the running tracks and f ootball field of the stadium will be replaced with a standard baseball field, with dugouts and other amenities to be added. The city had initially considered relocating the teams to Mokdong Baseball Stadium and Gocheok Sky Dome in other parts of Seoul, respectively, but ultimately chose the Jamsil main stadium based on the clubs' preferences. "I extend my thanks to those involved in joint efforts to tackle the issue, including the Seoul city government, on behalf of the baseball community," Heo Koo-youn, commissioner of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), said. "In cooperation with teams, Seoul City and other related organizations, the KBO will do its utmost to provide a safe and comfortable environment for fans." Both KBO clubs welcomed Seoul's decision to turn the Olympic venue into an 18,000-seat baseball facility. In preliminary discussions with the two teams and the KBO, Seoul had considered making only about 10,000 seats available for baseball games at the main stadium. The Twins and the Bears thanked the city for being open to opinions from the baseball community and vowed to ensure a safe experience for spectators. Jamsil Baseball Stadium has a capacity of 23,750. For the first half of this KBO season, the Twins averaged 18,604 fans per home game to lead the league, while the Bears ranked third with 17,449 fans per home game on average. In total attendance, the Bears led the way with 820,126 fans, followed by the Twins with 725,538. Being forced to play at a 10,000-seat venue for five seasons would have dealt a big blow to the bottom lines for both teams. Source: Yonhap News Agency