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KBO cancels interleague play in minors to save costs

All Headlines 18:13 June 23, 2020

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) -- In a cost-cutting measure during the coronavirus pandemic, South Korean minor league baseball teams will not play interleague games after June.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) made the announcement regarding the Futures League schedule on Tuesday following a meeting of its executive committee, made up of general managers of 10 clubs.

In this file photo from June 2, 2020, mascots for the LG Twins take a rest during a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game against the Samsung Lions at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The Futures League is made up of five KBO affiliates in the Northern League, and five KBO affiliates plus the military club Sangmu in the Southern League.

The Northern League clubs are based in and around Seoul, while the Southern League teams are in the south and southeastern parts of the country.

The team officials decided to scrap 117 interleague games scheduled after June 30 to save travel expenses. The KBO will come up with a new schedule of about 60 games, to be played after July 7, with teams only playing within their own division.

The KBO season opened on May 5 without fans in the seats, due to the coronavirus outbreak. The league's hope of putting spectators back in the stands by early June was dashed when Seoul and its surrounding regions saw a sudden spike in new COVID-19 cases.

Gate receipts are said to account for about one-third of teams' revenue.

With the number of daily new virus cases still sitting in the double-digit range, talks of opening ballparks to fans have been shelved.

One team official said canceling Futures League games will not help clubs' bottom lines all that much, but teams felt they had to do something.

This file photo from May 31, 2020, shows dolls standing in place of fans at Daegu Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, during a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game between the Samsung Lions and the NC Dinos. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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