Seoul to rework Jamsil Olympic Stadium as temporary ballpark

Featured image credit: Seoul Institute/CC BY 4.0/Edited for size

The City of Seoul has announced that KBO League baseball teams LG Twins and the Doosan Bears will temporarily relocate to an adapted Jamsil Olympic Stadium, whilst work takes place to transform their current home.

The latest news comes after the Seoul Metropolitan Government in September detailed plans to build a domed stadium on the site of the Jamsil Baseball Stadium, with the new venue set to feature an adjoining hotel overlooking the field.

The stadium will form part of the wider Jamsil Sports MICE Complex, a multi-purpose development on the site of the 1988 Olympic Games in the Korean capital which also includes the Olympic Stadium.

Plans for the Populous-designed Jamsil Sports MICE Complex were first unveiled in March 2022. It was announced at the time that the development would include a 35,000-seat open-air baseball park and an 11,000-seat complex capable of hosting local sports, esports, live performances and other events.

Jamsil Baseball Stadium is due to be redeveloped so that its current capacity of around 24,000 rises through the 30,000-seat domed stadium vision that is due to be complete in March 2032. This means the Twins and Bears require a temporary home, with the two teams now set to relocate to Jamsil Olympic Stadium for the five seasons spanning 2027 to 2031.

The 60,000-seat stadium will undergo its own temporary renovations to adjust it to an initial 18,000 capacity in ballpark mode, with potential to increase this to 30,000 for major games or postseason events.

The renovation budget stands at between KRW30bn (£16.93m/€20.02/$21.67m) and KRW40bn, according to the Yonhap news agency, with the stadium’s running track and football pitch to be replaced with a standard baseball field, in addition to dugouts and other amenities.

The City is said to have initially considered relocating the teams to Mokdong Baseball Stadium and Gocheok Sky Dome in other parts of Seoul, before settling on Jamsil Olympic Stadium based on the clubs’ preferences.

In a statement, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said: “Jamsil Main Stadium will be used as a replacement baseball stadium during the construction period of the dome stadium, but it will be built with a focus on the convenience of visitors with citizen safety as the top priority, so that the word temporary is meaningless. We will strive to quickly and safely promote the construction of Jamsil Dome Stadium.”

KBO president, Heo Heo-yeon, added: “On behalf of the baseball world, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those involved in the Seoul Metropolitan Government who have worked together to resolve conflicts of interest and difficult issues.

“The KBO will cooperate with the club, Seoul City, and all related organisations to provide the best support to baseball fans. We will do our best to create a safe and comfortable viewing environment for people.”

In August 2023, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced plans for a major redevelopment of Jamsil Olympic Stadium as part of proposals to bid for the 2036 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Located in Songpa-gu, a district in the southeastern part of the South Korean capital, Jamsil Olympic Stadium opened in 1984, ahead of Seoul’s staging of the 1986 Asian Games, followed by the 1988 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.