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Record earnings for South Korean league

(Reuters) - South Korean baseball underlined its continuing growth by posting a record $33 million in revenue last year, local media reported on Wednesday.

Winning gold at the Beijing Olympics and finishing runners-up at the 2009 World Baseball Classic boosted baseball's popularity and attendances crossed the 7 million-mark for the first time last year, Yonhap News agency reported.

The league pocketed 35 billion won ($32.9 million) in 2012, bettering the 34 billion it earned a year earlier, the report said citing figures from the marketing wing of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).

The league received 25 billion won from its television broadcasting contract and 8 billion from corporate sponsorship, while 2 billion came from merchandise sales.

Each of the eight KBO clubs, having collectively drawn 7.15 million fans, took home 3.8 billion won after the league broke its attendance record for the fourth straight year.

The KBO will welcome a ninth club this year in what would be the league's first expansion since 1991 while another team could be included in 2015.

($1=1061 South Korean won)

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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