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Men's basketball saw jump in attendance before virus forced cancellation: data

All News 11:20 March 31, 2020

SEOUL, March 31 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean men's basketball league was in the midst of a strong season when the competition was abruptly interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Tuesday.

The Korean Basketball League (KBL) said its 10 teams had drawn a total of 641,917 fans at 205 regular season games, for an average of 3,131 per contest, before the season came to a halt on Feb. 29.

Last year, the KBL teams averaged 2,829 fans per regular season game, with a total of 763,849 fans flocking to arenas.

In this file photo, from Feb. 2, 2020, Kim Jong-kyu of the DB Promy puts down a dunk against Anyang KGC in a Korean Basketball League regular season game at Wonju Gymnasium in Wonju, 130 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)

The league decided to cancel the remainder of this season last Tuesday. The 205 games do not include eight matches held behind closed doors in February, as the league sought to keep its season going while preventing the spread of the virus.

Amid a decline in fan interest and in the quality of play in recent years, the KBL had struggled to stay relevant in the local sporting landscape. The league posted a single-season attendance record with a little over 1.33 million fans in the 2011-2012 season but then suffered a drop in the category every season from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018.

The number bounced back slightly last season, and the league was on its way to enjoying a second straight season-to-season jump this spring.

The KBL also said a few records were set during the abbreviated season, with one team at the center.

Lee Dae-sung of the KCC Egis scored 30 points and dished out 15 assists on Nov. 9 against the KT Sonicboom, becoming the first homegrown player to reach those marks in a game.

His teammate, Lee Jung-hyun, extended his KBL record for consecutive games played to 420. Another KCC player, Ra Gun-a, ended the season with 228 career double-doubles, also a league record.

Joey Dorsey of the Egis became the first player to have a double-double in the first quarter on Oct. 20 against the Mobis Phoebus, when he put up 12 points and 10 rebounds. There had been 16 double-doubles in a single 10-minute quarter prior to that, but no one had done it in the opening frame.

This photo provided by the Korean Basketball League shows the home team SK Knights and ET Land Elephants playing a regular season game without spectators at Jamsil Students' Gymnasium in Seoul on Feb. 29, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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