I won’t play devil’s advocate as I realize how utterly disgraceful Barcelona and how unnecessarily accommodating the K-League association has been during Barca’s Korea tour. The first reason the media is upset is rather clear: Barca is playing their youth squad plus Alves. The next reason the media is upset is the fact that the entire nation had to get up and shift their schedules for one meaningless game. Meaningless?
The K-League Association (let’s just call it the KLA in this article, for simplicity sake) paid a large sum (in cash, I might add) to dial the 1-800 Barca hotline and bring in some fantastic second string youth players. We can tell by how much the KLA are charging their customers — first tier tickets (The East and West sections of the stadium) range a bit over a 100 USD. In comparison, your average FC Seoul ticket at Sangam World Cup stadium is 20 USD, tops. Notice how I said “tops”. This figure is charged during high-profile matches, such as the final 8 and beyond for the FA Cup and post-season playoffs. In other words, for the K-League to generate revenue equal to the Barca game, they would need to play 5 more games per week, at the same attendance figures. Wow.
Now, I realize that five plus times the revenue generated by a single match doesn’t necessarily mean immediate distribution of wealth and services back to the clubs. However, the KLA, who serves in the governmental capacity of the K-League, may be better off having five plus times the revenue as it could mean potential investments in various areas of the football industry. Although I won’t go into details but one only has to compare our current football infrastructure to about 10 years ago. The KLA can’t distribute wealth and services when it doesn’t have much revenue, let alone any income.
If we were to discuss the overall economic state of the K-League, hands down, we are still in infancy. Revenue streams are not maximized, transparency is not guaranteed, and more importantly, nobody really knows about us. As such, unless we can come up with a plan that will generate 5 plus times the revenue and exposure by other means, I have no doubt in my mind that the KLA will call the Barca hotline again, sometime in the near future. But to answer your next question – will I pay a 100 bucks to see Barcelona’s fantastic youth players? Hell no.