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BASEBALL/Turnout for CPBL pre-season games nearly triples

03/28/2024 09:31 PM
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Photo courtesy of Chinese Professional Baseball League
Photo courtesy of Chinese Professional Baseball League

Taipei, March 28 (CNA) The professional baseball league in Taiwan has seen impressive growth in the number of spectators attending pre-season games this year, boosting expectations for the upcoming 2024 season.

A total of 93,074 fans attended the 30 official pre-season games held from March 13-27, representing an increase of around 61,400, or 184 percent, from last year when there were 29 games, the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) said in a statement issued Thursday.

The surge was greatly boosted by the two games held at the Taipei Dome featuring the CTBC Brothers and Wei Chuan Dragons and the Brothers and Fubon Guardians on March 16 and 17, during which 36,228 people crowded into the recently opened first indoor baseball stadium in Taiwan.

The sellout crowd of 19,898 attending the first game broke the previous record of 7,068 set in 2015 for a pre-season game between the Brothers and the Lamigo Monkeys (now Rakuten Monkeys).

However, even without those two games, the average turnout for each game still nearly doubled as the number climbed from 1,091 to 2,030, marking an 86 percent increase, the league noted.

Cheerleading activities played an important role in boosting attendance, the league said, observing that the cheerleading squads of both teams were allowed to perform at some games.

The CPBL highlighted the game between the Brothers and the league expansion team TSG Hawks at Douliu Baseball Stadium in Yunlin County on March 23, where the 7,315 turnout set a new high for a pre-season game at an outdoor park, it said.

The 2024 CPBL season opener will take place on Saturday at the Taipei Dome, where the Dragons host the Monkeys in a rematch of the 2023 Taiwan Series final.

As of press time, nearly 25,000 tickets to the season opener had been sold, according to the Dragons. Meanwhile, about 15,000 tickets have been sold for the game between the Dragons and Brothers on Sunday at the same venue.

With the Hawks promoted to its major league, the CPBL will see a league high 360 regular season games between March and September, including 33 games at the newly opened multi-functional venue.

This is the first time the CPBL has had six teams vie for the championship since 2008 when the Chinatrust Whales and dmedia T-Rex were disbanded.

From Sunday, fans can watch up to three games in a day featuring 15 potential matchups.

(By Yang Chi-fang and Chao Yen-hsiang)

Enditem/AW

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