Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What Can You Get For 6 Billion Won, Anyway?

Chosun Ilbo posted this a few days ago. KoreaBeat provided the English translation. I wanted to sit down and look at these numbers a bit before I did a write up.

My beloved Samsung Lions spent over 6 billion won on player salaries. What exactly did that buy them?

I took Samsung's 6.2 billion won payroll and divided it by wins+(ties*1/2). The KBO counted a tie as half a win in the standings, I figured that would work for my purposes as well.

Samsung(6.2 billion) = 97.3 million per win
Hanhwa (4.6 billion) = 68.3 million per win
Kia (3.5 billion) = 69.75 million per win
Doosan (2.8 billion) = 40.58 million per win
SK (4.02 billion) = 53.2 million per win
Lotte (3.75 billion) = 66.4 million per win
LG (4.085 billion) = 66.97 million per win
Hyundai (4.1 billion) = 73.1 million per win

At current conversion rates, 1 American dollar is equal to about 947 Korean won. So, Samsung's 97.3 million won per win is equal to about $102,745 American. Just for a comparison, the salary cap of the Northern League, an independent American baseball league, is $105,000.

What jumps out at me is that SK and Doosan made it to the Korean Series and had the lowest player costs in the league. Lesson learned, cash doesn't always equal victory.

What's really going to be interesting is where Woori(formerly Hyundai) ends up in terms of payroll. It sounds like they could have a payroll around 2 billion won before the start of the season. Even if they win 50 games this year(looking likely), that's still going to be about 40 million per W. They'll be spending almost half what they spent last year for an equally crummy team. I guess it's better to be bad and cheap than bad and expensive.

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