South Korea’s volleyball superstar Kim Yeon-koung is indisputably dubbed “a magnet for audiences to the court.” Indeed, the women’s V-League has attracted a larger number of fans than their men’s counterpart by as many as 70 percent since the stellar athlete came back.
According to data on the number of visitors tallied up during the first half of the season (Round 3) as of Tuesday released by the Korean Volleyball Association (KOVO) on Thursday, a total of 63 women’s games were visited by 149,215 audiences, a higher record by over 60,000 than 88,869 in total for the men’s games.
Incheon Heungkuk Life Pink Spiders, surprisingly, was loved by the largest number of audiences with an average of 3,951 visitors per game, higher by a whopping 67.4 percent than the second most-visited team, the Hwaseong IBK Altos. In particular, on average, as many as 4,380 fans came to see the Pink Spiders’ home games at Incheon Samsan World Gym. Also, all the top five most-visited games involved this team.
Heungkuk Life stands out in viewer ratings. Out of the top five most-watched games across both the men's and women's leagues, three from No. 2 to No. 4 were played by this team. It only demonstrates that Kim Yeon-koung has been a powerful magnet for volleyball fans who can't wait to see her playing in person on the court or otherwise keep their eyes glued to the TV to watch her performance.
By contrast, the men's league has also struggled with low viewer ratings. The highest record of 0.96 percent in the men's league made during the match between Daejeon Samsung Fire Bluefangs and Ansan OK Financial Group OKman held last Christmas Eve did not even reach the average of 1.05 percent recorded by the women's league. The men's league only recorded an average of 0.58 percent in viewer ratings, around half that of the women's.
Each of the men's teams also lags in the number of audiences by team compared to the women's league. Daejeon KGC, the women's team with the smallest number of audiences, became more popular than the men's league's most-loved team, Seoul Woori Card WooriWON. “All the men's teams are already aware that only star athletes can turn things around. However, they have no option but to be left worried because they cannot create star players overnight,” said an insider of a men's team.