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Official Review by Eric Bynum, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Mudeung Baseball Stadium is home to the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO). Built in 1965, it is one of the oldest baseball stadiums in Korea and one of the smallest in the KBO holding only 13,872 people.
The Kia Tigers are the equivalent of the New York Yankees of Korean baseball having won 10 of the first 29 championships. However, they play in one of the worst professional stadiums around.
Beginning with the 2014 season, the Kia Tigers have moved to their new stadium, Champions Field.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Mudeung Baseball Stadium offers nothing in the way of western food. They have the traditional Korean snacks of deokbokki, mandu, ramyeon, and others which are cheap and usually delicious. However, everything I had from the park on my visits was not very appetizing.
The drink selection is pretty much the same everywhere you go. Beer (mekju), water, Gatorade, and soda are always available. The price is always affordable as well as drinks will run you around $1-$3.
You can bring anything in to the stadium, and I highly recommend your doing so. Don't wait to get to the game as there isn't anything around the stadium either.
Just about everything at Mudeung Stadium is old. The scoreboard is big. It has room for both lineups down the sides so you can see who is coming up to bat and a video screen in the middle. However, the video screen is old and outdated.
The seating is horrible. It is open seating in 95% of the park with some reserved seats behind home plate. The times I have been seats were falling apart as is the entire stadium. Fortunately, the stadium is so small that every seat gives you a good view of the action.
The best part of the atmosphere has to be the cheerleaders. They are always there for Kia and many times the visiting teams as well. They are beautiful, fun, and their excitement is infectious.
There is virtually nothing around the stadium. There are no restaurants or bars to walk to. This just adds to my thought that this is the worst stadium in Korea.
If you are traveling in from another city, the major bus station (U-Station) houses some good restaurants including TGI Fridays. Gwangju is a good sized city with a good expat community.
Despite the poor stadium, the fans are great. They are passionate, knowledgeable, and exciting. They love to cheer and they love their baseball. They have rooted on some of the best teams in Korea for years, and they show no signs of stopping.
Armed with their thundersticks, the fans cheer all game long no matter the score. It's a lot of fun sitting around large groups of Kia fans. They are very exciting and you can't help but want to cheer along with them.
The stadium is not on the Gwangju subway line. However, buses are available for public transportation to the park. Take Pungam bus 16, Ilgok bus 38, or Jiwan bus 151 to Mudeung Stadium stop.
Or another option is taking a taxi to the stadium. Taxis are cheap in Korea and with Gwangju not being a huge city such as Seoul, the cost will be minimal.
Access around the stadium is good. With most of the seats being general admission, you can easily move around the stadium. This is nice if you like to take photos of the game or just watch from different areas.
Restrooms are abundant even in the small stadium and the wait is usually very short if there is one.
Despite being the worst stadium in Korea, the price is cheap thus making it a bargain. Don't let the old stadium turn you off from seeing a game if you are in the area. Being able to bring in your own food and drink along with the great fan atmosphere more than makes up for the bad stadium.
If you want the most out of your experience, sit with the Kia fans. You'll be sure to have a great time then.
Like most other Korean baseball stadiums, Mudeung Baseball Stadium offers nothing in the form of extras. There is nothing too interesting to see around the stadium or in the stadium as well.
The history of the team is about all that this experience has going for it. This is definitely a place that needs to be torn down and rebuilt.
I didn't like the stadium itself, but I fell in love with the fans. They seemed even more impressive in such a dismal stadium. There has been talk in Gwangju, as well as in Daegu and Seoul, of building a new stadium. Most of it has been talk as it seems every time plans evolve they stop for one reason or another. It was announced in 2011 that Hyundai would build the new stadium to be ready for the 2014 season.
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