Korean Baseball Team To Move Into A Stadium Mall in 2028

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    UConn head coach Dan Hurley celebrates after cutting down the netting from the 82-54 win against Gonzaga of an Elite 8 college basketball game in the West Region final of the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

    It will be the first time a baseball park will be connected to a mall.

    The SSG Landers franchise in the Korea Baseball Organization is getting a new stadium. The venue is scheduled to open in 2028 in Incheon which is about 20 miles from the South Korean capital of Seoul. Normally when a team gets a new stadium, it is big news to a certain extent. But the Incheon stadium will be reminiscent of an arena that is still in use in Hartford, Connecticut. The 21,000-seat stadium will be connected to a shopping mall. It is the first time a baseball stadium will share space with a mall. But the concept is nothing new, Hartford and Connecticut politicians more than a half century ago decided to build a 10,000-seat arena connected to a mall.

    In 1974, Howard Baldwin and his partners relocated the World Hockey Association’s Boston-based New England Whalers to Hartford. Baldwin’s move would significantly alter the sports industry, although at the time, all Baldwin and his partners wanted to do was find a market and rabid fans who could support their team. If a lot of people didn’t take notice of the relocation in 1974, it is quite understandable. Baldwin was moving a team in a second-tier hockey league. Baldwin moved the team to the Big E Coliseum in West Springfield, Massachusetts for the 1974 playoffs and the team played there until January 1975 when the Hartford Civic Center opened. Baldwin moved his team into an arena that was surrounded by a mall and both the arena and mall were expected to financially feed off one another. New York Rangers fans who would travel to Hartford to see the team play the Baldwin Whalers would chant, “You play in a mall.” It might have been a silly notion to Rangers fans watching a game in Hartford but stadium villages are the rage now.

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    A rendering of a stadium mall complex that will be built in Incheon, SOuth Korea.