Professional soccer, along with baseball, is one of the two major professional sports in Korea. A team’s relegation is causing a stir.
Suwon Samsung, one of the “household names” in professional soccer’s K League, was relegated directly to the K2 (second division) after finishing last this season. This is the first time Suwon, which was founded in 1995, has been relegated to the second division. The entire soccer world was shocked.
Suwon had invested aggressively since its inception and transformed itself into a powerhouse within a short period of time. As a result, the team has won four K League titles and two consecutive Asian Champions League titles in its 10 years of existence.
But one choice changed their fortunes. In 2014, Suwon’s management changed from Samsung Electronics to Cheil Industries, and operating expenses began to be drastically cut. Despite the name “homegrown,” given the limited domestic professional sports landscape in terms of gate receipts and merchandise sales, cutting operating expenses from the parent company can only mean a downward spiral. In the meantime, internal development was slow. The team seemed to be in a hurry to maintain the status quo rather than improve itself, and it was relegated to the bottom of the league in recent years.
Of course, it’s hard to compare K League conditions to those of professional baseball.
Professional baseball returned to the 8 million attendance era this year. The season started on a bad note with the loss of the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), but that didn’t deter fans. The Korean Series, which ended with the LG Twins winning their first championship in 29 years, was sold out after a bidding war. Unlike professional soccer, which has a mix of corporate and civic teams with different goals, professional baseball has a box office system in which all 10 teams compete with a clear team color.
However, the downfall of the Suwon has clear implications for professional baseball.
A team without investment is always weaker. It’s every team’s dream to bring in a young player and develop them into a franchise star. However, it’s important to have a veteran player on the team who has the weight of experience to watch and learn from. It’s greedy to expect a player to go it alone without a mentor. While some players fail in the most modern development systems, 먹튀검증토토사이트 there are plenty of players who thrive in the presence of a senior who excels even in poor conditions. In order to achieve this balance of old and new, we need to invest accordingly. Not only for the players, but also for spectator facilities, marketing, etc.
It”s also about development.
In professional sports, most teams are funded by their parent organizations. However, the parent organization does not look favorably on a team that does not generate enough revenue to sustain itself. Clubs need to do everything they can to mobilize crowds and increase advertising revenue. The team must also show that they are producing positive results by creating a virtuous cycle of first-team and backup players based solely on merit.
So far, no team in the KBO has cut operating costs as drastically as Suwon’s example. However, front office indulgence and a lack of motivation among players can happen at any time, and it’s a reason to rethink reality and the future, not just the next door neighbor.