The opening of the 2023 World Baseball Classic is 58 days away.

The first international competition to be held since the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the world’s best stage where the national baseball team is all out.

The importance needs no further explanation. Professional baseball is aiming for a turnaround in this WBC. They were eliminated in the group stage of the previous two tournaments in a row. The shockwave threw cold water on baseball’s popularity. The key is Australia, which they will face in the group stage. If it beats Australia, it is highly likely that it will join Japan, which is regarded as the strongest group in Group B, in the quarterfinals. Japan is a burdensome opponent in the group stage, but if Australia is defeated, it is worthwhile to play a strong quarterfinal match against Taiwan or Cuba, which are strong in Group A. The Korean baseball team’s goal of advancing to the semifinals is complete.

After the pandemic, professional baseball is at a crossroads. The total number of spectators in the KBO League in 2022, the first year the spectator restrictions were lifted, was 6,076,074. Compared to 7,286,008 in 2019, before Corona 19, more than 1 million people decreased.

The problem is the flow, the continuous decline.

The number of KBO spectators has been going downhill since peaking in 2017 at 8,406,88. After pulling in 8 million spectators with 8,073,742 in 2018, it fell to 7 million the following year. After 3 years, the audience limit was lifted, but only 6 million units.

If the three years of the pandemic have brought about changes in the consumption patterns of the sports market, it could be the beginning of a bigger crisis. The KBO seems to be working hard to recover its popularity, but there is virtually no practical effect.

In the meantime, football has made progress. At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, it succeeded in advancing to the round of 16 for the first time in 12 years since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa (round of 16). The process was also dramatic. At the last moment, the story of ‘Unbreakable Heart’ was completed. 토토

Baseball and soccer, the two major professional sports in Korea, inevitably look at each other.

In particular, the future depends on which sport of the highest talent is selected in the youth inflow stage. If soccer has the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup generation, baseball has the 2008 Beijing Olympics generation. In other words, the recent World Cup fever and relative crisis in baseball overlapped.

The effect of international competitions on sport popularity. No explanation needed. This is why WBC propaganda needs a story.

National team coach Lee Kang-cheol is also conscious of this. While announcing the national team’s final list on the 4th, coach Lee said, “I felt joy while watching the World Cup last year. People who watch the WBC at home will think the same way. Rather than setting a specific ranking, I want to get out of Japan. I want to go again,” he said, expressing his aspirations for advancing to the semifinals. 토토

Unfortunately, American betting companies do not consider Korea as a candidate for the semifinals. United States, Dominican Republic, Japan, Puerto Rico in that order. Korea is evaluated as a joint 5th place.

Will the Korean national team be able to revive Korean baseball, which is on the verge of recession, with better-than-expected results?

This is why a cool-headed analysis of not only the strength of the Korean national team, but also the objective strength of Australia, which will face off in the first match of the first round, and Japan, which professes to be the strongest ever, must be preceded.

Starting with the announcement of the final list of 30 national teams, Sports Chosun analyzes the strength of the Korean, Japanese and Australian national teams in detail. It will be an opportunity to get a glimpse of Team Korea’s propaganda potential.

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