‘PayPayDom & Boss Izo’ challenge to become a global ‘landmark’ beyond Japan… Korea should take note

In recent years, the KBO has seen a lot of enthusiasm for the construction of ‘new stadiums’ such as Cheongna Dome and Jamsil Dome. In the case of Cheongna Dome, which is being promoted by Shinsegae Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin, the stadium is not just for baseball, but also for various cultural projects such as shopping and play culture.

In the KBO, the Gocheok Sky Dome, Gwangju-Kia Champions Field, Samsung Lions Park, and Changwon NC Park are the most recently built stadiums. Compared to Busan’s Sajik Stadium, Seoul’s Jamsil Stadium, and Daejeon’s Hanwha Life Eagles Park, the facilities are much better. However, even though the stadium was built relatively recently, there aren’t many things to do other than play baseball. As a result, not many fans visit the stadium unless they are baseball fans. Especially on non-baseball days, the area around the stadium can be quite deserted.

In order to improve this problem, Jung Yong-jin, the vice chairman of Cheongna Dome, is planning to connect Cheongna Star Field and Cheongna Dome. The idea is to capture the hearts of fans who don’t just want to watch baseball. The same goes for the Jamsil Dome project. The Seoul Metropolitan Government, which is promoting the construction of a dome ballpark in Jamsil, is also working to incorporate a convention centre and hotel.

In the case of Major League Baseball, newly built stadiums often incorporate various content elements such as shopping malls. The most representative stadium is Globe Life Field, which is used by the Texas Rangers. For teams and cities looking to build new stadiums, there’s one not too far away. They are the Fukuoka PayPay Dome and the Boss Izo in Japan.스포츠토토

The Fukuoka PayPay Dome is Japan’s “only” team-owned professional baseball stadium. As the stadium is owned by the team rather than leased, SoftBank has made a huge effort to develop the commercial area around the PayPay Dome, which resulted in the completion of a complex entertainment building called Boss Izo in July 2020. The building provides fans with something to do in the PayPayDome neighbourhood even on non-baseball days. The PayPayDome and Boss Izo are less than a minute’s walk from each other.

The contents of BOSS IZO are very diverse. On the first floor, there is a performance venue for Japanese idol group HKT48, an immersive museum using three-dimensional space, TeamLab Forest Fukuoka, a place to play games using VR, and Japan’s “only” 100m-long slide and climb.

There’s also plenty of baseball-related content. There is a museum dedicated to SoftBank Chairman Sadaharu Oh, a “legend” who hit 868 home runs in his career. The museum is filled with exhibits related to his SoftBank Hawks. There is also a highly technologically advanced baseball experience centre. It’s not just about enjoying the game, there’s also a system where you can compare your skills with those of professional players.

The PayPayDome and BOSS Izo linkage system is a great example for KBO league teams and cities looking to build new stadiums and attract non-baseball landmarks. SoftBank invited Lee Dae-ho to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the club and the 30th anniversary of the PayPay Dome in order to introduce Korean tourists to Bose Izo beyond baseball.

Lee arrived in Fukuoka on the 26th and watched the game between SoftBank and the Chiba Lotte Marines on the 27th. When the former and current SoftBank coaching staff heard about the visit of Lee, who won the Japan Series MVP in 2015 while at SoftBank, they rushed to welcome the “No. 4 hitter of Joseon”. “This is my first time in the stands,” said Lee Dae-ho, who has been on the field countless times but hasn’t had much experience watching baseball from the stands. I’m so nervous,” he said, expressing his joy at the experience he hadn’t had while on active duty.

Before the game between SoftBank and the Chiba Rodeo at the PayPay Dome on the 28th, Lee will enjoy the content of “Boss Izo” and deliver the ceremonial first pitch. Ieyasu Shimizu, director of SoftBank’s General Business Office, said, “We want to attract Korean tourists to visit Boss Izo 365 days a year, not just for baseball at Fukuoka PayPay Dome. We will sell tickets exclusively for Koreans and offer a variety of perks,” said Shimizu Ieyasu, Director of Business Development at SoftBank. “We want to make PayPay Dome and Boss Izo a favourite destination for Korean tourists by working harder to make them feel like they are ‘glad they came here’.”

Not only the Major League Baseball, but also Japan, where baseball is a hot topic, is making various attempts to create a place where people can enjoy baseball and various contents in one place. Let’s hope that the KBO will be able to make these things a reality, not just a plan.

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