billsportsmaps.com

April 27, 2010

Football Conference (aka Blue Square Premier League)-Top of the table, 2009-10 season.

Filed under: 2009-10 English Football,Eng. Non-League,Football Stadia — admin @ 12:34 pm

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Stevenage Borough will play in the Football League next season for the first time in their 35 year history. Stevenage Borough were famously denied entrance into the Football League in 1996, when, after winning the Conference, their automatic promotion was denied due to their ground being below standards. So 14 years later, it’s payback time for Stevenage and their fans. In the interim, the club had improved their ground, Broadhall Way, to the point where it was considered one of the top facilities in the Conference. This season, Stevenage saw a 30% increase in average attendance, to a very respectable 2,589 per game.
That still was far below the two turnstile giants of Non-League football these days…Luton Town and Oxford United, who both have averaged in the 6,000s this season. Average attendances of the top 5 clubs in the Conference are listed on the left on the map page. The following link shows average attendances in the Conference this season…Conference Premier Attendance Grids and Charts 2009-2010 (www.mikeavery.co.uk).

Stevenage Borough FC page at en.wikipedia.org

The four clubs competing for the other promotion spot to League Two are: Luton Town, Oxford United, Rushden & Diamonds, and York City. All four of the playoff clubs have League history, and their relegations from the League are noted in their club profile box. Also listed are the number of seasons spent in each of the top 5 levels of English football, and the club’s 09/10 kits. Also included in the profile boxes are three photos of each club’s home ground.
On the map I have listed the 23 clubs that competed in the 2009-10 Conference. The odd-number of clubs is due to the mid-season expulsion of Chester City.
That made relegation a matter of three other clubs, and those relegated this season were: Grays Athletic, Ebbsfleet United, and Forest Green Rovers. However, Salisbury City were penalized for failing to pay creditors, and were relegated two levels to the Southern Premier League, in the 7th Level. This was made official on 12th June. Forest Green Rovers, as the highest-placed relegated club, were thus re-instated into the Blue Square Premier League for the 2010-11 season.
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Play Off dates…The Play-Off begins Thursday, 29th April, with Rushden & Diamonds v. Oxford United; and York City v. Luton Town. ; 2nd Legs Monday, 3rd May. Play-Off final Sunday, 16th May, at Wembley Stadium. 2010 Conference Play Off fixtures, at Football Conference site .
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Thanks to Football Supporter’s Federation Ground Guide,FSF Ground Guide. Thanks to Soccerway, England- Conference National/Venues (www.soccerway.com). Thanks Google Maps, Google Earth view.

Thanks to World Stadia.com, www.worldstadiums.com. Thanks to RDFC Fans Blog, Rushden & Diamonds fansite. Thanks tor RDFC official site, www.thediamondsfc.com.

Thanks to Sam Mason at Flickr.com, Sam Mason @ Flickr.com. Thanks to jim2000 at Panoramio.com, jim2000 @ panoramio.com. Thanks to OxKits.co.uk, OxKits.com, A visual history of the kits of Oxford United.

Thanks to SoccerWorld.com, soccerword.com. Thanks to UK European Football Stadiums, stadiums.football.co.uk/Non League Stadiums. Thanks to Bing.com, Luton Town FC, Kenilworth Road (Birds Eye view).

Thanks to Campdavemorecambe at Flickr.com,‘[Photo of]Broadhall Way, Stevenage Borough. Thanks to Ray Stanton at Panoramio.com, [Photo of] Stevenage Borough FC. Thanks to Virtual Globetrotting, Broadhall Way (satellite view).

Thanks to Mike Avery Non-League Football Stats site, http://www.mikeavery.co.uk.
Thanks to Jeremy, at Albion Road site, for tech support help, Albion Road, Fan’s guide to Football Clubs around the world .

April 23, 2010

2010 Copa Libertadores, Second Stage, Round of 16, with top 5 leading scorers.

Filed under: Copa Libertadores — admin @ 11:00 am

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The map shows the 14 clubs through to the Round of 16, plus the two Mexican clubs who were allowed to pick up where they were a year ago prior to the H1N1 scare in Mexico that forced the two clubs, San Luis and Chivas Guadalajara, to pull out of the 2009 Copa Libertadores.
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Click on the gif below to see photos, with flag of the country of birth listed, for the top 5 scorers in the competition so far. [Note, I couldn't get an image inserted here...I am having a few problems with the newly installed WordPress 2.9.2 .]

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The Brazilian forward Kleber leads with 7 goals for his club Cruzeiro, who lost the 2009 Copa Libertadores final to Estudiantes. From 2003 to 08, Kleber played 65 times for Dynamo Kyiv, scoring 25 goals. He was then loaned out to Palmeiras in 2008, then signed with Belo Horizonte’s Cruzeiro in 2009, where he scored 7 league goals in 15 games and 3 in the ’09 Copa Libertadores.
Two of the players on the list below have been instrumental in propelling their under-dog status clubs into the Round of 16…Jose Carlos Fernandez of Peru’s Allianza Lima, and Rodolfo Gamarra, of Paraguay’s Libertad. One player, the Panamanian forward Luis Tejada, of Peru’s Juan Aurich, netted 6 times but his production was not enough to see his club go through. Two Peruvian clubs have made it through, though, the aforementioned Allianza Lima, and another club from the capital, Universitario. That’s an impressive showing for a country that been out of the limelight for a time, now. Sao Paulos’ Washington, born in the city of Brasilia, is a 35-year old journeyman who has played in Turkey (with Fenerbahce, scoring 10 goals in 12 games) and Japan, where he helped Urawa Reds win their first J-League title in 2006, and an Asian Champions League title in 2007. He netted 42 times in 52 games with Urawa. His prolific output has continued. He returned home in 2007, and scored 21 times in 28 games with Fluminense, before being signed by Sao Paulo, where he has scored 35 goals in 59 games, and counting.
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Credit must be given to the Brazilian contingent, all five of which advanced to the Round of 16…Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Flamengo, Internacional, and Sao Paulo.
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Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, 2010 Copa Libertadores.
Thanks to Jeremy, at Albion Road site, for tech support… Football Clubs Guide, Albion Road.com, a fan’s guide to Football Clubs around the world.

April 19, 2010

Minor League Baseball: the International League, the 14 ball clubs and their ballparks.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: MiLB Triple-A — admin @ 8:12 am

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The International League is a Triple-A league, one of the three top-ranked minor leagues in the Major League Baseball farm system. [The other Triple-A leagues are the Pacific Coast League, and the Mexican League.]
Reigning champions are the Durham Bulls, the top minor league affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Bulls swept the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees in 3 games  last September, to claim the Governor’s Cup.

Here is the official site of the minor leagues,  Minor League Baseball.com… MiLB.
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On the map, I have ball club profile boxes which contain the franchise history of each team (note- this is not the same as the minor league baseball history of each city, because just as major league teams (ie, franchises) can move from city to city, so too can minor league teams). I also have the full lists of MLB affiliations of each team, including the logo of each minor league team’s present-day parent-club.  Then there are a couple photos of each team’s ballpark, with capacity and opening date listed.

At the lower left on the map page, there is an article on the roots of the International League, and then brief histories of the three oldest teams in the league…the Rochester Red Wings, the Indianapolis Indians, and the Toledo Mud Hens. 

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Below- 2009 average attendances of International League teams, with the ball clubs’ current logos and home caps.

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Thanks to Little Ballparks.com {click here}.   Thanks to Ballpark Reviews.com {click here}.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org {click here (set at International League page)}.  
Thanks to http://international.league.milb.com/ , for information on the early history of the league.

April 14, 2010

Triple-A Baseball, the Pacific Coast League: 2009 attendances.

Filed under: Baseball,Baseball: MiLB Triple-A — admin @ 11:27 am

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The Pacific Coast League, or PCL, is one of three Triple-A leagues in Major League Baseball’s minor league system [The other two Triple-A leagues are the eastern-USA-based International League, and the Mexican League.]. Triple-A is the highest designation in the minor league system. The Pacific Coast League was established in 1903. Since 1998, the PCL has been a 16-team league, and it now stretches from the Pacific Coast inland, all the way east to middle Tennessee.
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In the first half of the 20th century, and up until the end of the 1957 season, the Pacific Coast League had a unique postion among minor league baseball leagues. This was because all the other minor leagues had teams which were in close proximity to major league ball clubs. But since there were no MLB clubs further west than St. Louis, Missouri until 1958, the PCL had no competition for fans. One could say because of this isolation, the PCL was sort of in a class by itself. And in fact, from 1952 to 1957, the PCL was given the “Open” classification, putting them a step above the Triple-A classification. This was part of the Pacific Coast League’s attempt to become the third major league, alongside the American League and the National League.
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Seasons in the PCL could go from early February to December. In 1905, the San Francisco Seals played 230 games, and up until the mid-1950s, teams in the PCL were playing about 2 dozen more games (around 170-180 per season) than MLB teams.
Most PCL players were locally born, and wages were so competitive with other leagues, and even with the major leagues, that many skilled players chose to remain out west in the PCL, rather than sign with major league teams in the east. Of course, the PCL did produce some greats, indeed two of the all-time greatest ball players began here: Joe DiMaggio, with the San Francisco Seals, and Ted Williams, with the original, minor league San Diego Padres.

Below: The Pacific Coast League in the early 1950s…

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The Los Angeles Angels, a charter member of the PCL dating back to 1903, played in the 21,000-capacity Wrigley Field (Los Angeles), from 1925 to 1957. Here is a page on the LA version of Wrigley Field, from the BallParkTour.com site… Wrigley Field (Los Angeles). The Los Angeles Angels were the flagship team and the second-most successful PCL team of the first 55 years of the league, winning 12 titles in that era (the San Francisco Seals won 14 titles in that era). The LA Angels’ big rivals were [the second incarnation of] the Hollywood Stars (1938-1957), who actually played right adjacent to Hollywood in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles, in the 13,000-capacity Gilmore Field (now the site of CBS Television City). True to their name, the ball club had movie stars as supporters, and even investors, of the team, and had the slogan “The Hollywood Stars owned by the Hollywood stars.” Star of Westerns Gene Autry was a principal owner, and the cinema superstar Gary Cooper was also a co-owner. Comedian and box-office topper Bob Hope was actively involved with the Stars, and in the link I have put in a couple of sentances on, you can see a photo of Hope hamming it up at Gilmore Field, alongside Gary Cooper. Here is a nice two-part illustrated article about the Hollywood Stars of the PCL, from a site called SportsHollywood.com… The Hollywood Stars.
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However, being the third major league was not in the cards for the Pacific Coast League. The demise of train travel, and the rise of jet aircraft travel on a widespread basis circa the mid 1950s certainly led to the erosion of the PCL’s convenient isolation. But what really did in their preeminent status in the minor leagues was the arrival of two major league ball clubs. Basically, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants, by moving to California in 1958, put an end to the Golden Age of PCL baseball. After the Dodgers displaced both the Los Angeles Angels and the Hollywood Stars; and the Giants displaced the San Francisco Seals, these three ball clubs were forced to relocate to smaller markets, and the clout that the league had disappeared, almost overnight, as it’s once captive markets had a higher calbre of baseball nearby to follow, and it’s three strongest franchises were neutered. The LA Angels moved north, to eastern Washington state, as the Spokane Indians. The SF Seals moved to Arizona, as the Phoenix Giants. And the Hollywood Stars moved to Utah, as the second incarnation of the Salt Lake Bees, before folding in 1965 (a third Salt Lake Bees has been in the present-day PCL since 1994). Boy, moving from the center-of-the-universe nirvana of 1950s Hollywood to the ascetic cultural landscape of Utah…you really know the party is over when that happens.
So the 1958 move west of the Dodgers and the Giants was not just a wrenching loss for the borough of Brooklyn and National League baseball fans in the New York City area, but it also spelt the end of a halcyon era in west coast baseball.
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The modern-day PCL took on 5 midwest ball clubs in the autumn of 1997, when the American Associaition (minor league) folded. The teams that joined the PCL from the AA, after the 1997 season were: the Iowa Cubs, the Nashville Sounds, the New Orleans Zephyrs, the Omaha Royals, and the Oklahoma [City] RedHawks. That winter, another city from the middle of the country was added to balance the league at an even amount of teams…the Memphis Redbirds. Also in 1998, the Fresno Grizzlies joined the league (with the franchise that left Phoenix after Phoenix got an MLB team).
Since then, the PCL has shed all 3 of it’s Canadian teams. First to go was Vancouver, who in 1999 moved to the capital city of California to become the Sacramento River Cats. The River Cats are the highest-drawing team in the PCL, and averaged 9,126 per game last year.
Then in 2003, the Calgary Cannons moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico (who had lost a PCL team 2 years earlier). The fans in Albuquerque voted for the team’s nickname, The Isotopes, which is a reference to the baseball team from fictional Springfield, in The Simpsons. The Isotopes draw third-best in the PCL, and averaged 8,363 in 2009.
The third and last Canadian PCL team to go was the Edmonton Trappers, in 2005. This team now plays near Austin, Texas as the Round Rock Express. Round Rock draws well, second-best in the PCL, pulling in 8,708 per game last season.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org…Pacific Coast League.
Thanks to Retro Brand (vintage wear) site, Retro Brand store.
Thanks to LogoServer, LogoServer, PCL logos.
Thanks to The Biz Of baseball site, for the attendance figures… Biz Of Baseball/Minor League Baseball Attendance Database.

April 10, 2010

Major League Baseball: list of foreign-born players (231) on MLB teams’ rosters on opening day (April 6, 2010).

Filed under: Baseball — admin @ 1:45 pm

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From MLB.com, April 6, 2010, by Robert Gonzalez, ‘Rosters showcase foreign-born players’.
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The list was released by Major League Baseball on April 6, 2010, to coincide with Opening Day rosters of the 30 MLB teams. Here is an article from The Biz of Baseball.com site… ‘Complete List of 231 Foreign-Born Players in MLB for 2010′”. The article includes a pdf of the 231-player list.

Two notes….The list includes Puerto Rican-born players, even though Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the USA. Evidently, according to MLB, for the purposes of this list, United States-born means born in the 50 states and the District of Colombia.
[Note: see Comment #4, for more on this.]
The list comprises the active rosters of the 30 MLB ball clubs, plus players who are on the disabled list and who are suspended.
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Here are all the foreign-born players that made the 2009 MLB All-Star game last July…
American League: 8 36 players on 2009 All-Star roster were foreign-born.
AL starters-
Jason Bay, OF (Canada)- Boston Red Sox [now on New York Mets].
Ichiro Suzuki, OF (Japan)- Seattle Mariners.
AL pitchers-
Felix Hernandez, SP (Venezuela)- Seattle Mariners.
Mariano Rivera, RP (Panama)- New York Yankees.
AL reserves-
Victor Martinez, C (Venezuela)- Cleveland Indians [now on Boston Red Sox].
Justin Morneau, OF (Canada)- Minnesota Twins.
Carlos Pena, 1B (Dominican Republic)- Tampa Bay Rays.
Nelson Cruz, OF (Dominican republic)- Texas Rangers.

National League: 8 of 36 players on the 2009 All-Star roster were foreign-born.
NL starters-
Yadier Molina, C (Puerto Rico)- St. Louis Cardinals.
Albert Pujols, 1B (Dominican Republic)- St. Louis Cardinals.
Hanley Ramirez, SS (Dominican Republic)-Florida Marlins.
Carlos Beltran, OF (Puerto Rico)- New York Mets.
NL pitchers-
Francisco Cordero, RP (Dominican Republic)- Cincinnati reds.
Frankie Rodriguez, RP (Venezuela)- New York Mets.
Johan Santana, SP (Venezuela)- New York Mets.
NL reserves-
Miguel Tejada, 3B/SS (Dominican Republic)- Houston Astros.

Foreign-born 2009 MLB All-Stars by country- Dominican Republic, 6 players; Venezuela, 4 players; Canada, 2 players; Puerto Rico, 2 players; Japan, 1 player; Panama, 1 player.

Thanks to ESPN, MLB Players.
Thanks to Maury Brown at BizOfBaseball.com… http://www.bizofbaseball.com.

April 5, 2010

Israel: Israeli Premier League, 2009-10 season.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Israel — admin @ 1:23 pm

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Currently, Israel is ranked #20 by UEFA, for European league competitions (for 2011-12). That’s up from #22.

Here are brief explanations of the large amounts of football clubs in Israel with Maccabi or Hapoel in their names…Maccabi, here: ‘What is Maccabi GB?’. “…Maccabi was founded at the turn of the century in Central and Eastern Europe. Following rising anti-Semitism, Jews were excluded from local sports and social clubs. So they decided to form their own. …”

[From Wikipedia:]…Hapoel is an Israeli sports association. It was established as a union of the Histadrut of the workers in the land of Israel. Histadrut, here: Histadrut. “…founded in 1920 in Haifa as a Jewish trade union…”

Most Maccabi football clubs in Israel have that star-of-David-with-Hebrew-letters device as part of their logo, while most Hapoel football clubs in Israel have that quasi-Bolshevik-style-worker-with-sickle-and-hammer device in their logos. And most Hapoel clubs feature red in their color scheme, so you can see the original left-wing base of the Hapoel clubs. Israel football clubs are supposed to have shed themselves of official political affiliations, but it remains that Hapoel clubs are decidedly more left-wing. The biggest bastion of the right-wing in football in Israel remains Beitar Jerusalem. You are apt to see a plethora of Likud Party faithful at Beitar Jerusalem home matches, and literally zero Palestinians and Arabs. In fact (no surprise, they being so far right-wing) there is a significant amount of racist Beitar Jerusalem fans {see this, ‘Bigoted Israeli Soccer Fans Walk Out After Muslim Player Scores For Their Team‘ (deadspin.com, from 3 Mar.2012)}. The biggest bastion of the left-wing in football in Israel remains Hapeol Tel-Aviv. You are apt to see Che Guevara banners at Hapoel Tel-Aviv home matches.
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The 2009-10 season in the Israeli Premier League is the first with the expanded size of 16 teams, up from 12 teams. Also new this season is the playoffs system, which sees the league split into 3 separate round-robin competitions after the 30-match regular season is finished. The 30th round is the weekend of 10-11 April.
On the upper left-hand corner of the map page, I have briefly outlined the playoff system, and I will talk about it at the end of this post.
Also on the map page is an all-time titles list for Israeli clubs. The most successful club in Israel is Maccabi Tel-Aviv, who have won 20 titles, but none since 2003. Second are Hapoel Tel-Aviv, with 12 titles, but none since 2000. [Tel Aviv is Israel's largest city, with a metropolitan area population of 3.25 million {2009 figure}.]
The third most-titled club in Israel are Maccabi Haifa, with 11 titles, including 2009. Fourth are Beitar Jerusalem, who won their 6th title in 2008. Not coincidentally, these four clubs are also the highest-drawing clubs in Israel, pulling in 9,000 to 10,000 or so per game. The league as a whole averaged 5,305 per game last season, but with the expanded size of the league, cumulative average attendance has gone down over 1,000 per game this season. This is because two of the just “promoted” clubs draw crowds that number only in the hundreds (Hapoel Acre 2000, and Hapoel Ra’anana). 2009-10 attendance figures, here… Israel 2010 attendances (E-F-S site).
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Reigning champions Maccabi Haifa are from Haifa, which is the third-largest cityi n Israel, with a metropolitan area population of 1.04 million {2007 figure}. Maccabi Haifa was a small club overshadowed by local rivals Hapoel Haifa, until the 1980s, when Maccbi Haifa started winning titles. The Yerukim, or Greens, won their first title in 1984. The club became known for their flashy offensive style, but with a sometimes porous defense. By the 1990s, with new ownership, the club became stable financially. In 1994, the club won it’s fifth title, but then faltered in the following seasons, as the club lost key players (like Eyal Berkovic) to Western European clubs. 2000 saw the arrival of Avram Grant, the former Maccabi Tel-Aviv manager who had won titles there in Tel Aviv in 1991 and 1995. Grant helped Maccabi Haifa regain it’s dominating offensive style. Standout player was attacking midfielder Yossi Benayoun, who went on to tally 55 goals (many of which were spectacular) in 130 games for the Greens. Maccabi Haifa won the 2000 and 2001 titles, and became the first club from Israel to qualify for the UEFA Champins League Group Stage (for the 2002-03 CL season). The subsequent departure in the summer of 2002 of Grant, for the Israel national team coaching job (Grant now manages Portsmouth), and of Benayoun, for Racing Santander in Spain’s La Liga (Benayoun is now at Liverpool), contributed to the club’s failure to win three straight titles. But Maccabi Haifa did in fact achieve that three-in-a-row feat in the following seasons, winning the Israeli title in 2004, 2005, and 2006. This was under manager Ronny Levy, who was an early proponent of the use of computer software for player evaluations and for tactics. Ronny Levy now manages recent Romanian champions and CL Group Stage qualifier Unirea Urziceni (of Romania). Maccabi Haifa are currently managed by Elisha Levy (no relation), who had captained the squad in the 1982-83 season.
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Elisha Levy has Maccabi Haifa comfortably at the the top of the table, with one round to go before the newly implemented Top Playoffs begin. The club has been propelled by prolific-scoring forward Shlomo Arbeitman.
Below- Top 2 Israeli league scorers this season below: Shlomo Arbeitman of Maccabi Haifa, and Itay Shechter, of Hapoel Tel-Aviv…

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The 2009-10 Israeli championship will be decided by a round-robin schedule between the clubs placed first place through 6th place. The clubs retain half their points total from the 30-match regular season (with odd-numbered points rounded up). With that factored in, only the top 2 clubs have any real chance of winning the 2010 title… Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel-Aviv. That’s because Maccabi Haifa have a 14 point lead, or more, over the clubs in third place and lower.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org… ‘Israeli Premier League’.
Thanks to Martin at TankedUp site, for research help. TankedUp.com, here, Tanked Up, All European Football League Maps.

April 2, 2010

Korea Baseball Organization, 2009 attendance map.

Filed under: Attendance Maps & Charts,Korea: baseball — admin @ 1:10 pm

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My post on the KBO from February, here… ‘Korea Baseball Organization: the 8 teams, with parent corporations listed, and baseball stadium photos.’”.

The KBO began it’s season last week. 2009 Korea Series champions were the Kia Tigers, of Gwanju.
Last season, as a league, the Korea Baseball Organization averaged 11,138 per game.
The biggest draw in South Korea are the Lotte Giants (of Busan), who averaged 20,597 per game last season. The next highest drawing teams are two of the three ball clubs from the capital, Seoul…the Doosan Bears, who averaged 15,731 per game in 2009, and the LG Twins, who drew 14,778 per game. Fourth highest were the SK Wyverns of Inchon, who pulled in 12,556 per game last year. Fifth highest were the champs, Kia Tigers, who drew 8,818 per game. That was a 51% increase over the 2008 figure, which was 5,838 per game. That puts the Kia Tigers as having the same small-sized fan base as the other 3 KBO teams, who all drew below 6,000 per game in 2009.
[Note: if you want to see KBO attendance figures, I would recommend going to my February 2010 post (via the link at the top of this post), and scroll down 2/3rds of the page, to 2 paragraphs above the Kia Tigers photos. Because at the KBO site, on the attendances list, half the teams' names are printed in Korean...I translated them and listed them in the order that they appear on the KBO site.]

Thanks to the Demis site, for the base map of the Korean Peninsula… Demis.nl.
Thanks to Locker Room.co.kr, for the cap photos… KBO merchandise.

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