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Pro volleyball suffered drop in attendance after coronavirus surge: data

All News 10:11 April 03, 2020

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean professional volleyball league was enjoying a boon in attendance, only to have the coronavirus outbreak keep fans away from arenas late in the season, data showed Friday.

The Korean Volleyball Federation (KOVO) said the 2019-2020 V-League drew 392,331 fans over its five "rounds." It was a near 10 percent drop from 434,791 fans at the same point a season ago.

In the V-League, seven men's teams play 36 matches each, and six women's teams play 30 matches apiece. These teams play each other once each round, meaning one round is made up of six matches for men and five matches for women.

The season was canceled on March 23 in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Teams had played different numbers of games up to that point, and KOVO decided to set the final standings retroactively to the conclusion of the fifth round: the 30-game mark for men and 25-game point for women.

In this file photo from March 1, 2020, Hyundai Engineering & Construction Hillstate and GS Caltex Kixx play their women's V-League volleyball regular season match behind closed doors at Suwon Gymnasium in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul. (Yonhap)

According to KOVO, V-League teams drew 247,560 fans through their first three rounds, breaking a three-round record of 240,987 set in the 2018-2019 season.

But the attendance number began falling in the fourth round, which got under way at the end of December as the coronavirus started to rear its deadly head. Teams were still averaging more than 2,000 fans per match through the fourth round. But the average figure dropped to 1,606 in the fifth round, just before teams began playing behind closed doors.

"We were on a record-setting pace in the pre-virus portion of the season," a KOVO official said. "It's disappointing how the season came to an end."

Teams played a few matches in the sixth round without fans, as they sought to curb the spread of the virus. The season was suspended March 2 and was canceled 21 days later.

This file photo from Feb. 25, 2020, shows a men's V-League volleyball match between the home team Kepco Vixtorm and the Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Bluefangs taking place without fans in the stands. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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