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KBO, MLB commissioners agree on need for stronger partnership through games

All News 15:13 June 21, 2022

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- Heads of professional baseball in South Korea and the United States both see the need for growing the sport through international events, including holding games on each other's turf, the South Korean league office said Tuesday.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) shared details of last week's meeting between its commissioner, Heo Koo-youn, and his Major League Baseball (MLB) counterpart, Rob Manfred, in New York.

According to the KBO, the two leaders shared the view that baseball needs more international events to strengthen its position in the global sporting landscape. Heo and Manfred both recognized the importance of holding KBO Opening Day games in the U.S. and hosting MLB Opening Day games in South Korea.

This photo provided by the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) on June 21, 2022, shows KBO Commissioner Heo Koo-youn (R) with Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred in MLB's headquarters in New York after their meeting on June 14, 2022. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Heo had made the same proposal in May in his Seoul meeting with Jim Small, MLB's senior vice president for international affairs.

The KBO said Heo proposed to Manfred having KBO clubs take part in MLB spring training and play exhibition games with big league clubs. Manfred responded MLB would explore the possibility, the KBO added.

Heo was accompanied on the trip by CEOs of KBO clubs. They met with senior MLB executives, who updated the visiting officials on the progress of the automated ball-strike system in use in the minor leagues and other rule changes being tested there.

The KBO said Heo, while in New York, met with executives of the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, and discussed with them ways in which the KBO can apply some of the two clubs' marketing strategies.

Heo also traveled north to Toronto, where he met with leaders of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs in the National Hockey League, the Toronto Raptors in the National Basketball Association and Toronto FC in Major League Soccer.

Heo also had talks with Toronto Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro on marketing and other business-related matters.


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