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'Additional KRW 5.6 billion' A large investment of KRW 48.6 bill

A ‘home-friendly’ baseball stadium never seen before in Korea will be created in Daejeon. The new baseball stadium in Daejeon, which is being built with a huge investment of 48.6 billion won by the Hanwha Eagles, is raising expectations as a stadium with various characteristics.

On the 22nd of last month, Hanwha signed a use and profit contract with Daejeon Metropolitan City for the new soccer stadium, Baseball Dream Park (tentative name). With the full support of Hanwha Group, Daejeon City paid a total of 48.6 billion won and acquired the right to use the stadium, naming rights, and advertising rights. This is a contract to use the new baseball stadium, which will open in time for the start of the 2025 season, for 25 years until 2049.

Initially, Hanwha decided to invest 43 billion won, but the construction cost increased significantly from 161.7 billion won to 200 billion won due to additional construction due to design changes and increases in raw material prices and labor costs. Accordingly, Hanwha also invested an additional 5.6 billion won at the group level, making a total investment of 48.6 billion won.

The Hanwha team took 'Home Friendly' as a new baseball stadium concept and went through the process of concretizing it. After the initial design was published, we requested cooperation from Daejeon City by proposing basic design modifications for more than 100 items to improve convenience for players, fans, and Daejeon citizens. As Daejeon City has accepted most of the amendments, it is being built as a new concept baseball stadium that has never been seen in Korea before, including Asia's first double-story bullpen and infinity pool.

The most notable feature is the asymmetric ground structure (99m on the left, 115m on the left center, 122m on the center, 112m on the right center, 95m on the right). Unlike major league stadiums in the U.S., where each stadium has different sizes and characteristics, causing various situations to occur dynamically, domestic baseball stadiums are standardized and symmetrical for reasons of neutrality.

However, Hanwha reflected the new trend in a differentiated attempt and promoted asymmetry of the overall stadium facilities for home friendliness. To realize this, Hanwha's new stadium TF team worked diligently by touring PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Minute Maid Park in Houston, and Globe Life Field in Texas.

As a result, the distance to the pole on the right side of the fence was increased from the existing 100m maintained at Hanwha Life Eagles Park to 95m, and instead, an 8m high 'Monster Wall' was installed to maintain the existing home run park factor. It reminds me of the 11m tall ‘Green Monster’ on the left, a famous feature of Boston’s Fenway Park. Instead, the remaining fence will be lowered to 2.4m, the minimum height under regulations. The wire mesh above the fence has also been removed, so it is expected that left fielders or center fielders will often catch 'home run steals' by catching batted balls that go over the fence.

The distance between left and right as well as left and right are different. The left center, where the fence is low, is further away to 115m, which is 3m longer than the existing stadium, and the right center, where the monster wall is installed, maintains the existing distance of 112m. Accordingly, rather than being advantageous to either the left or right hitters, there is a high possibility that it will become a neutral stadium like the current Hanwha Life Eagles Park in terms of home run park factor. However, due to the monster wall on the right, it is expected that the number of doubles and triples where a batted ball that would be a home run will hit the fence and fall will increase.

There are many things to see on the defensive side as well. Since right field does not have a wide defensive range, it can be an opportunity for slow-footed slugger outfielders. On the other hand, left fielders and center fielders who need to cover a wide area are expected to create an environment favorable to outfielders with quick feet and good athletic ability who can take advantage of low fences.

In order to take advantage of these characteristics of the stadium, Hanwha went through a communication process of internal analysis of the club and listening to the opinions of the players. The club's strategy team intensively analyzed the hitting distribution and launch angles of hitters who are likely to play for the team after 2025, as well as the hitting distribution of home and away teams in games currently held at Hanwha Life Eagles Park. We conducted in-depth interviews with the coaching staff and key position players to prepare for maximizing the effectiveness of the home-friendly stadium.

This stadium format, which is unfamiliar to the away team, may be more advantageous for the home team, Hanwha, which plays 71 or 73 games at home every other year. Hanwha's unconventional attempt is expected to serve as an opportunity for new stadiums to be built in the future, such as Jamsil, Cheongna, and Busan, to challenge a more extreme type of field.

In addition, as a home-friendly measure, the electronic display board will be moved to the opposite side of the first base bleachers, and various cultural facilities will be built on the third base side. In the right outfield, a double-story bullpen will be installed for the first time in Asia to increase space efficiency and provide something to see for fans. Media glass is installed on the transparent glass surface of the double-story bullpen to create various images. Unlike the double-story bullpens at major league stadiums where players simply wait, there will be a separate rest area where players can do various warm-up exercises and take a break.

Park Chan-hyuk, CEO of Hanwha Eagles, said, “We have been working with Daejeon City to make the new stadium a 365-day cultural space for Daejeon citizens and a future-oriented and differentiated stadium that represents Korean professional baseball. We would like to thank Daejeon City for accepting the club’s various suggestions. “We will do our best to prepare for the club during the remaining period until the opening,” he said, promising a baseball stadium that has never been seen in Korea.
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Sunday, December 10, 2023
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