You may think that Tae Kwon Do is the number one sport in Korea, but guess again. Soccer has become unbelievably popular ever since Seoul hosted the World Cup in 2002; now everyone is playing soccer, following soccer… basically living for soccer! Park Ji Sung, who plays for Manchester United, is considered a Korean national hero. Korean soccer games are out of control… in a very controlled manner (if that’s possible). Fans dress up in team colours, paint their faces, chant chants and sing songs during games. Actually, the fans are often more entertaining than the players!
The main stadium to watch soccer in Seoul is the World Cup Stadium in Mapo-gu. To get there, take subway line six to World Cup Stadium Station and exit through exits one, two or three. Tickets to matches cost between 8,000 won and 20,000 won, depending on where you want to sit. Doors at the stadium open three hours before the game starts, and you can buy tickets then. Purchasing in advance or over the phone is not possible.
Seoul Football Club website: http://www.fcseoul.com/eng/index_eng.jsp
Probably the second most popular sport in Seoul is baseball, and like soccer, the games are a lot of fun to watch… mostly because of the crazy fans! Again, face painting and heckling are the main reasons Koreans go to baseball games but in all actuality, the players are some of the best in the world and the talent is evident when you watch the games.
The main stadium for baseball in Seoul is Jamsil Baseball Stadium. There is also one in Dongdeamun (currently under heavy construction), as well as a stadium in Mokdong. To get to the stadium in Jamsil (where all major games will take place), take subway line number two to Sports Complex Station and go out through any exit – the stadium is huge and you can’t miss it! Like soccer games, you can buy tickets at the stadium a few hours before the game starts, and tickets cost around 12,000 won for a regular seat.
For more information on Korean pro baseball, you can visit this website: http://baseballguru.com/andrewwong/koreanbaseballprimer.html
While not as popular as soccer or baseball, basketball is becoming a more popular spectator sport in Seoul and they do have a pro league… more or less (made up of Koreans and foreign players).
The Seoul team plays at the Seoul Sports Complex. To get there, take subway line two to Sports Complex station. Tickets are around 8,000 won each and, like the other sports, you cannot purchase them very far in advance.