Seoul has announced plans to build a new dome stadium to replace Jamsil Stadium. It’s great news for baseball fans, but there are still some challenges ahead.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon visited the Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays, where Ryu Hyun-jin plays, on July 17 (KST). Located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Rogers Centre is a large domed stadium with a seating capacity of approximately 41,000. After conducting due diligence by visiting the Rogers Centre and other surrounding facilities, Mayor Oh revealed his plans to build a world-class “sports and MICE complex” in the Jamsil area of Seoul, including a dome stadium to replace the current Jamsil Stadium.
Jamsil Stadium is a 23,750-seat open stadium that opened in 1982 and is currently home to LG and Doosan. It is famous as a symbol of Korean professional baseball due to its huge size, which is not at all comparable to major league stadiums.
However, Jamsil Stadium, which opened in the first year of professional baseball (1982), is the second oldest stadium in the KBO League after Daejeon’s Hanwha Life Eagles Park (opened in 1964), and there have been constant claims that it needs to be remodeled or rebuilt. This time, the stadium is finally getting a new home as it is part of Seoul’s “Sports and MICE Complex” development plan. Seoul plans to build a 30,000-seat dome stadium on the site of the current Jamsil Stadium.
However, a look at the city’s announced plans reveals that there are still challenges ahead. The immediate problem is finding a replacement stadium for LG and Doosan to play in during the six-year construction period. From 2025 to 2031, when construction of the dome begins, the KBO, LG, and Doosan wanted to play at the renovated Jamsil Sports Complex. However, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that the stadium would not be available during the construction period due to the simultaneous construction of the dome, convention center, and hotel, and for the safety of baseball fans.
If Jamsil Sports Complex cannot be used, LG and Doosan will not have a stadium where they can play their games. The Gocheok Sky Dome, which is currently home to the Kiwoom Heroes, and Mokdong Stadium, which hosts amateur baseball games, have been mentioned as possible options, but LG and Doosan’s position is not easy to accept. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has said that it should also consider playing games in the Seoul metropolitan area, such as SSG Landers Field in Incheon and KT Wiz Park in Suwon, but it is expected to be difficult to negotiate with the clubs.
The second issue is the type of dome stadium that will be built. A KBO official said, “We understand that it has not yet been decided how the Jamsil dome will be built. The KBO is working to convey the baseball community’s position. Together with LG and Doosan, we will continue to hold discussions with the Seoul Metropolitan Government.”
When the city of Seoul first envisioned a “sports and MICE complex,” the plan was to move the new ballpark to the Han River instead of the current location of Jamsil Stadium. However, the baseball community, including the KBO, strongly advocated for the new ballpark to be built in its current location, which is convenient for public transportation, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government agreed, resulting in the current plan.
However, the construction of a dome ballpark was inevitable due to the noise and light pollution that would be caused to surrounding facilities such as convention centers and hotels if the ballpark was built in the current location. For this reason, the Seoul Metropolitan Government reportedly changed its mind from an open stadium to a dome stadium.
Seoul has yet to officially announce whether the Jamsil Dome will be a closed or retractable dome. However, the current plan seems to lean toward a closed dome. Aerial views released by the Seoul Metropolitan Government show that the new dome stadium will be similar to a closed dome.
There is a global trend for new baseball stadiums to be built with retractable domes. The two most recent examples are Globe Life Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers (opening in 2020), and Escon Field Hokkaido, home of Nippon Professional Baseball’s Nippon Ham Fighters (opening in 2023), both retractable domes. In Major League Baseball, the only closed dome is Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays (opened in 1986). The Rogers Centre (opened in 1989), which Mayor Oh visited, is famous for being the world’s first retractable dome. 바카라사이트
Escon Field, the stadium most often compared to Jamsil Dome, is similar in many ways to Jamsil Dome. Unlike Nippon Ham’s previous home, Sapporo Dome, Escon Field, located in Kitahiroshima, a suburb of Sapporo, was built as part of a real estate development project by the city of Kitahiroshima. It has a similar construction background to Jamsil Dome, which is part of Seoul’s plan to create a sports and MICE complex. Like Jamsil Dome, ESCON Field is a 30,000-seat stadium that reportedly cost 60 billion yen (about $539 billion) to build. While the current weakness in the yen exchange rate should be taken into account, this is not much different from the 500 billion won cost of the Jamsil Dome Stadium announced by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
Jamsil Dome Stadium actually has an advantage over Escon Field in terms of construction costs. Unlike Escon Field, which was built on a new site, Jamsil Dome Stadium does not require land acquisition costs as the existing baseball stadium was demolished.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government said that the construction of the dome will be financed by private investment. The Hanwha consortium, which is leading the development project, will invest all of the construction costs and get the right to operate the stadium for 40 years. LG and Doosan will bear no costs. Because of this, it may not be easy for the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Hanwha consortium to agree to change the plan from a closed dome to a retractable dome.
However, it is likely that the Jamsil Dome will inherit the status of the current Jamsil Stadium and become a symbol of Korean professional baseball. If Jamsil Dome Stadium, which will be the third stadium to be built after Gocheok Dome and Cheongna Dome (planned to open in 2028), is built with a closed dome, it may be impossible to build a retractable dome in Korea in the future.