KBO’s Top Club is also 1st in overseas merchandise sales


In this June 26, 2020 file photo, members of the NC Dinos celebrate their 9-3 victory over the Doosan Bears in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul.  (Yonhap)

In this June 26, 2020 file photo, members of the NC Dinos celebrate their 9-3 victory over the Doosan Bears in a Korea Baseball Organization regular season game at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, June 29 (Korea Bizwire)The NC Dinos, South Korea’s best baseball team so far, also lead overseas merchandise sales, data showed Monday.

In response to growing international interest, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) has launched an English version (http://kbomarket.com/us) from its official merchant site, the KBO Market, in early June.

A league official declined to disclose the exact sales figures for the 10 KBO clubs, but confirmed that the Dinos are the most popular team in the KBO market. They are also first in the standings at 32-14.

ESPN, the American sports cable giant, has been live streaming of six KBO matches per week since the start of the season on May 5, and KBO games are now available in 130 countries through ESPN’s international subsidiaries.

And Korean baseball has been a hit in the United States, with Major League Baseball (MLB) unable to kick off their season due to the coronavirus pandemic and feuds in negotiations between owners and players.

The Dinos, in particular, have found support unlikely in the state of North Carolina, as the state mailing abbreviation, NC, is the same as the name of the company that owns the baseball club.

The Dinos were featured on ESPN’s first-ever TV show, and Mo Chang-min’s bat flip After his first home run in 2020, the unsuspecting American public discovered a whole new culture of baseball.

Bat beats are generally frowned upon in MLB as a sign of disrespect for opponents, and lively bat throws have led to brawls.

Few, if any, in the KBO blink at bat beats, which sometimes happen on flyouts.

KBO Bat Flips had been turned into memes and GIFs on social media for the few baseball connoisseurs, and this season was the first wide exposure to this aspect of Korean baseball.

The KBO Marketplace recently sold a t-shirt commemorating Mo’s epic throw, with the words “Oh, my God! “

With fans absent from the stands due to COVID-19 infection concerns, the Dinos filled the seats behind the home plate with cardboard cutouts from fans who sent their photos to the team, including the team. ESPN play-by-play man Jon Sciambi.

The Dinos said they have had hundreds of international fans visiting the club’s merchandise site to place orders this season.

This May 24, 2020 file photo shows the cardboard cutout of ESPN baseball man Jon Sciambi (C) placed in the stands at Changwon NC Park, home of the Korea Baseball Organization club NC Dinos, in Changwon, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul.  (Yonhap)

This May 24, 2020 file photo shows the cardboard cutout of ESPN baseball man Jon Sciambi (C) placed in the stands at Changwon NC Park, home of the Korea Baseball Organization club NC Dinos, in Changwon, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

Between May 14 and May 31, the Dinos sold around 400 items, worth around 20 million won (US $ 16,660).

Jerseys were the most popular item, with 117 pieces sold, followed by hats, with 109.

All-Star outfielder / designated hitter Na Sung-bum was the international top seller of jerseys, accounting for 38% of all jerseys sold overseas with players’ names on the back.

Na, a client of Scott Boras hoping for a big-league opportunity next season, has been featured on ESPN.com and has been one of the most recognizable KBO names this season.

After missing most of the 2019 season with a serious knee injury, Na has rebounded well this year, with 13 homers and 41 RBIs in 45 games, placing him among the leaders in the league.

The Dinos said 342 of the orders during the period May 14-31 came from the United States, with destinations such as California, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and the ‘Illinois.

Dinos’ products have also been shipped to Canada, Germany, Australia, Great Britain and Chinese Taipei.

“Having KBO games broadcast live overseas and generating so much interest was a pleasant surprise for us,” said a Dinos official.

“I think baseball fans around the world wanted something that could cheer them up during the pandemic and found it in the KBO.”

(Yonhap)