Korean World Cup (Football - Soccer) - 66
Korea has been very successful over the last twenty years, in attracting some of the top sports events in the world, including the Olympics, the Asian Games and in 2002, the football World Cup. I arrived in Korea just after the 2002 World Cup, but the clear opinion from Westerners I know who lived in Korea at the time of the tournament, is that there was great atmosphere in the country and that everything was very well organised, during the World Cup.
With big screens outside City Hall, more than one million fans are estimated to have watched the Korean games together in the street. The 1988 Seoul Olympics and 2002 Football World Cup put Korea in the limelight and for Korea it was great, in that the world became more knowledgeable about Korea.
There is always the complaint by Koreans that not enough people in other countries know about Korea, but the World Cup definitely seems to have put Korea on the map. Turn on the TV news and you can still find yourself watching a TV clip of the 2002 World Cup or see some sports story which is in some way related the event.
In Korea the domestic league is blighted by the lack of football academies, with an emphasis put on studying. As spectator sports, Baseball and Tae-kwon-do are also more popular in Korea than soccer. As a result, the money and interest doesn’t exist in the domestic soccer K-league. The English Premier League teams are now realising the marketing potential of the Korean market and in 2005. Samsung have also sponsored Chelsea Football Club and Ji-Sung Park played for Manchester United. Ji-Sung Park is a great player in his own right and has had a successful career with Man Utd.