From a room at the Marriott City Center Hotel in Toronto, Canada, Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon couldn't contain his excitement at the prospect of a similar experience back home. At 4 p.m. on Sunday (local time), during his North American business trip, he marveled, "You can even watch the baseball game from the hotel rooms," as he enjoyed a lively game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox at the Rogers Centre, a 41,000-seater stadium known for its retractable roof and views connected from the hotel room.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government revealed on Monday its ambitious plans to construct a massive dome stadium and a global-standard 'Sports and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) Complex' in the vicinity of the Jamsil Sports Complex in Songpa District, mirroring the concept witnessed in Toronto. Mayor Oh emphasized, "While the primary goal is to enjoy baseball, the availability of family-friendly amenities is indeed remarkable," adding that "We are considering building a dome stadium in collaboration with a hotel".
The prospective stadium, promising over 30,000 seats, aims to become the largest dome stadium in the country capable of hosting international events. Drawing inspiration from the Rogers Centre, plans include introducing a 360-degree open concourse (a pathway connected to the stands) allowing circulation between the inner and outer fields, skyboxes, field boxes, family zones, and various premium seats.
One of the significant advantages of this Dome-type stadium is that it is rarely affected by adverse weather conditions – torrential rains or heat waves. It also offers an excellent venue for large concerts or events, particularly during the annual league break around the All-Star game and the off-season.
However, the Jamsil Dome Stadium will sport a fixed roof, unlike from the Canadian counterpart. "Adopting a retractable roof would inflate the initial budget by more than 20%, necessitating a reevaluation of the private sector involvement, potentially slowing down the project," explained a city official. This fixed roof design, favored by many, aims to minimize noise and vibration in the residential neighborhoods nearby.
The ambitious project, second only to the Rogers Centre on a global scale, involves collaboration with a hotel, featuring 300 rooms, 120 of which offer direct views of the stadium. The city intends to break ground by early 2026 and targets a completion date towards the end of 2031, allocating an estimated budget of around 500 billion won. If everything goes as planned, fans can anticipate enjoying professional baseball games at the new venue from the 2032 season onward.
This announcement, however, has thrown the local professional baseball sphere into a bit of a conundrum. The LG Twins and Doosan Bears, who currently consider the Jamsil baseball stadium their home ground, face the challenge of finding a temporary home to host their games for six seasons from 2026 to 2031. There is ongoing chatter in the baseball community about potentially sharing the Gocheok Sky Dome in Guro District with the Kiwoom Heroes or utilizing the currently amateur-exclusive Mokdong Baseball Stadium in Yangcheon District.
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