Posted March. 02, 2006 03:12,
Korea goes into a soccer frenzy every four years. Even those who usually do not care much for soccer follow the national team throughout the World Cup preliminaries, watch world-class football club games on TV, and surround themselves with everything soccer.
After the 1998 World Cup, the popularity of soccer in Korea soared, and the era was later dubbed the renaissance of Korean professional soccer. Veteran players like Seo Jeong-won, Kim Do-hun, and Kim Byeong-ji, and rising stars such as Goh Jong-su, Lee Dong-guk, and others filled the stands with fans.
The soccer frenzy in Korea simmered down, only to be rekindled threefold by the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup in which Korea made the final four. But that too died down.
The Korean Football Association (KFA) and pro league officials have been complaining that Korean fans are only interested in the national soccer team. Some are even worried that the national soccer team might kill Korean pro league soccer.
Until now, the only attempt to find a way to attract soccer fans was conducted by FC Seoul when it was known as Anyang LG: a study on how Japanese J-League clubs are managed. But the teams have been blaming it all on fans.
The KFA, for the first time in its existence, is conducting a trend study on pro soccer fans in the years 1998-2002 to learn more about the causes of soccer booms and their demises. It is a timely effort as the 2006 Germany World Cup and another soccer frenzy approaches.
Hopefully, Korean pro league soccer will be able to capitalize on the soccer frenzy and minimize the negative effect that World Cup aftermath will have on its popularity. The World Cup is an opportunity for the pro league to grow. Perhaps this time, we can prevent history from repeating itself.