There will be no more professional basketball games in Daegu from next season as top division team Daegu Orions will leave the city for Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, according to the league governing body.
The Orions, based in Daegu since the start of the Korean Basketball League in 1997, recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Gyeonggi Province city to move their home and become the Goyang Orions.
The board of directors of KBL approved on Monday Orions’ plan, noting that it would enhance the popularity of the sport in the country.
The newly built 7,000-seat arena in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province (Goyang City)
Goyang City, located about 20 kilometers north of Seoul, has recently completed building a new 7,000-seat arena with an investment of more than 99 billion won ($91 million).
The Orions will now use the state-of-the-art Goyang Gymnasium, which includes a revolving big screen in the middle of the court, as their new home, becoming the first professional sports club in the city.
The Orions, which won two championships in 2002 and 2003, have been struggling at the bottom of the league table in recent years. Last season, they managed to attract little more than 47,000 fans to their home games, the lowest number of the 10 teams.
The Orions, however, said that the decision to set up a new home base in Goyang could be a turning point.
Meanwhile, fans and supporters of the Orions expressed disappointment and embarrassment after the team received the green light from the KBL to move their home, noting that the decision came in a hurried manner without any open discussion.
Observers indicated that the financially strapped team was looking for new ownership, and reportedly, some local companies have already shown interest.
Since the establishment of the KBL, seven teams have moved their original home bases. Most recently, Yeosu-based Korea Tender, the former name of the KT Sonicboom, moved to Busan after KT took over the team in 2003.
By Oh Kyu-wook (firstname.lastname@example.org