The best things in Korea are nearly free! If traveling to Seoul between October and March then hop onto the green metro line #2 heading for Sports Complex station. Here pickup a schedule for one of the hometown Korean Basketball League teams, SK Knights or Samsung Thunder. Both teams use the Jamsil Student Gymnasium as their home court.
Built in the early 1970’s the gymnasium holds 7,500 people, without a bad seat in the house. The farthest seat off the court is thirty-rows back. About the same distance as club-suites at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado! Because seating is limited arrive early to acquire seats. Regular season game times are either 3:00 pm or 5:00 pm but occasionally teams will host a late game starting at 7:00 pm.
Once off the subway, locate exit number eight and climb two flights of stairs. Turn right and walk two hundred yards to the ticket box. Unfortunately it’s a gamble if the ticket agent or anyone around you speaks English. However, pointing at the arena map and using fingers will help mandate your basketball ticket purchasing needs.
Tickets begin at 4,000 won ($3.62) for standing room and price out at 28,000 won ($25.37) for courtside seats including a beverage and a slice of pizza! If courtside seats are soldout but you are interested in the seat plus food options then try for the Colpop Chicken, Krispy Kreme or Pocari Sweat seating areas; priced 18,000 to 22,000 won ($16.31 to $19.93). Other seating options without food are available from 6,000 to 12,000 won ($5.43 to $10.87). One of the greatest things about attending professional sports in South Korea is you are allowed to bring any beverages and food from outside the stadium to enhance your viewing pleasure.
Each of the ten teams in the Korean Basketball League is allowed to acquire two foreign players whom usually turn out to be American. Last Friday night we watched the 6th seed SK Knights host the #1 Busan Sonic Boom. Unfortunately for us in Korea timing is everything and we arrived ten minutes before tipoff. The agent explained in broken English they only had single seats left or “standing room only.” Opting to watch the game we paid 4,000 won per ticket for standing room. On our way to the standing room section we located two unused nosebleed seats in section 314.
With consistent offensive shooting by Sang-Oh and Young-Jin the Sonic Boom went into halftime with a seventeen point lead. A major portion of this lead coming from the aggressive play by powerforward Charles Rhodes on the defensive side of the court. In the second half, the Knights slived into the large lead twice but struggled in keeping close.
On two occasions American powerforward Terrence Leather went coast-to-coast with the basketball giving the hometown crowd something to cheer for with his two glorious dunks. However the afternoon still belonged to the overpowering, strong performance by the entire Sonic Boom squad. As the clock ticked down the Boom came away victorious with their twentieth win of the season on an impressive 83 to 69 point route.