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Dodgers embrace Korean fan base, launch Korean SAP for televised games

Hyun Jin Ryu's Korean-speaking fans will be delighted with SportsNet LA's decision to simulcast Dodger games in their native language.
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

SportsNet LA announced today that it will launch Korean-language Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) for all live Dodger games it airs. This marks the first time any Major League Baseball team has provided such a service to Korean-speaking fans.

“We’re so thrilled that fans can now watch our games on TV in Korean all season long,” said Stan Kasten, President and CEO, Los Angeles Dodgers. “The Dodgers have an incredibly diverse fan base, and over the past two seasons we’ve seen more and more of Los Angeles’ Korean fans come out to support Hyun-Jin Ryu. Making games available in English, Korean and Spanish on SportsNet LA lets us reach even more Dodger fans than ever before.”

The team has partnered with Radio Korea, the Dodgers’ Korean radio broadcast partner, to provide the service which begins with the home opener on Friday.

Broadcasters Richard Choi and Chong Ho Yim will call the game.

With lefty Hyun Jin Ryu in the starting rotation, the Dodgers have increased their Korean fan base, energizing the emerging market.

Ryu sounded pleased by the move.

“I’m happy that Korean Dodger fans will now be able to watch our games on SportsNet LA,” he said.

Former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda hosted clinics and lectures in Korea in 1981, establishing the team’s connection to the nation.

Los Angeles nurtured the relationship in 1990 when the Dodgers hosted team presidents from the Korean Baseball Professional League for a baseball workshop and seminar. In September of the same year, the Dodgers became the first MLB team to have a live broadcast in the Korean language.

Los Angeles was the natural destination for the first Korean-born major leaguer. On April 8, 1994 Chan Ho Park filled that role when he pitched for the Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves. From 1997-2001, Park averaged 15 wins per season for Los Angeles.

Ryu came to the Dodgers after seven All Star seasons with Hanwha in the Korea Baseball Organization. Last season, his first in Los Angeles, Ryu notched a 14-8 mark and was selected to Baseball America’s All-Rookie team.

Richard Choi, Vice Chairman of Radio Korea’s RK Media believes the move is a significant step.

“We are excited to be working with SportsNet LA to deliver Korean SAP for live Dodger games,” he said. “Korean Americans are huge fans of the Dodgers and every game Hyun-Jin Ryu pitches is a major event in our community. This is going to be a great year to be a Dodger fan.”

Do you love the Dodgers? If so, you'll want to follow the Dodgers on Facebook, where you can see pictures and share your thoughts with other fans.

The article’s author, Jim Smiley welcomes your email feedback. Read more about Jim in part one and part two of an exclusive interview about his baseball experience.

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