South Korea

In America, baseball is falling out of fashion with the younger crowd. Half of every TV audience is 55 or older. Only 4 percent of audiences for MLB postseason games are between 6 and 17, according to The Washington Post.

Not so in South Korea, though. In some ways, the exact opposite is happening: Young Koreans love baseball, and females are coming to fully embrace it.

According to The Wall Street Journal, female fanship in South Korea's professional league is way, way up. Young females, including working professionals, are coming to baseball games all the time, and even building their "Girls Nights Out" around evenings at the ballpark.

Korea's LG Twins, a professional team, says its fan club membership is now 45 percent female -- up from 25 percent in 2011. Women are watching all the time on TV, and coming to games to enjoy all sorts of peripheral activities going on alongside the game.

It might make traditionalists queasy, but Korean baseball has mastered the art of constant engagement. Female fans sing songs, strike Thundersticks, root on cheerleaders, and even participate in beer-chugging contests -- stadium-sponsored, at that.

"In the U.S., people go to a game to watch baseball," says Patrick Bourgo, who runs the South Korea chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research. "In Korea, people are there to experience an event, and it's as much off the field as on the field."

Perhaps that's why baseball is soaring among Koreans. Another possible factor: Some teams, such as the LG Twins, make a point of signing attractive baseball players, and promoting them as pop idols to their fan bases.

Teams have also run special female-focused events that offer tarot readings, cosmetics prize giveaways, and even fingernail painting at the game.

In other words, it's almost nothing like what you get at a major league ballpark. But one league is wildly successful while the other is working to stop hemorrhaging fans, so maybe we shouldn't write off Korean baseball just yet.

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