The Dodgers have announced that starting with Friday’s home opener against the San Francisco Giants, they will become the first Major League Baseball team to have Korean-language Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) available for every game.
Last season, the Los Angeles Lakers, who like the Dodgers, have their own Time Warner regional sports network, became the first NBA team to broadcast every game in Korean. I profiled the two announcers and their rather inauspicious studio during one of the first assignments:
To find the Korean broadcasters, you have to open the door to a small storage room, half of which is used to keep lights and cameras. With no producer, no engineer, and no staff, the announcers watch the game on a TV smaller than most of us have at home.
The Dodger announcers – Richard Choi and Chong Ho Yim – will broadcast from the stadium, but as with the Lakers, the Dodgers are trying to broaden their appeal to L.A.’s second biggest minority. There are more than 300,000 Koreans in the greater Los Angeles area, 70 percent of whom don’t speak English at home.
What the Dodgers have that the Lakers don’t is a popular Korean player; Hyun-Jin Ryu joined the Dodgers pitching staff in 2012, becoming the 14th South Korean native to play in the Majors and the fourth to play for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers started selling Hite beer at the stadium in 2012 – at $6 still the best deal at the ballpark – along with soju, a distilled spirit, both manufactured by the Korean company Hite Jinro.
Last year, mostly due to the popularity of Ryu, the Dodgers brought back its Korean radio broadcasts, airing 60 games on Radio Korea 1540 AM.
The station also aired games when the all-star right-hander Chan Ho Park pitched for the Dodgers in the 1990s.
The Dodgers will host their third annual Korean Heritage Day this season.