Since 2012 July, when Psy released “Gangnam Style,” the world’s attention to Hallyu (“Korean Wave”) increased rapidly.
Even before “Gangnam Style,” K-Pop was popular all over the world, and it has become one of the main contributors to the Korean economy. After Psy, it seemed that Hallyu just appeared out of the blue. But there were many efforts by the Korean government behind the scenes. In 1997, the president of Korea thought that the solution to the Asian financial crisis was music. So the government expanded support for Hallyu and continued to do so for 18 years.
The budget of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has increased since 1997, because of the continuous growth of Hallyu. Since 2014, however, although K-pop is still hugely popular, the image of Korea has been degraded because of the Sewol ferry incident and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). People around the world were shocked and as a result began to have some anxieties about Korea.
Although MERS has disappeared from Korea, many people around the world cancelled their trips to Korea, and Korea has suffered economically. If the government of Korea doesn’t find a solution to recover Korea’s image, the economy will continue to get damaged. During the MERS outbreak, at least 20,000 foreigners cancelled their trips to Korea. Travelers from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong cancelled more than 85 percent of their trips to Korea.
However, there is a good solution: Sport Industry. You may be unfamiliar with the term “Sport Industry.” But it always has been with you. According to the Ministry of Culture, Sport, and Tourism this is “a market in which people, activities, businesses, and organizations are involved in producing, facilitating, promoting, or organizing any activity, experience, or business enterprise focused on sports.”
For instance, Nike and Adidas are a kind of sports industry. If you buy sport equipment like a soccer ball or baseball glove, then you are contributing to the sports industry. Also, buying and wearing your favorite team’s uniform or buying tickets to a sports event would be contributing to Sport Industry.
According to EMSI, in the U.S, people are very enthusiastic about sports, especially the MLB, NBA, and Super Bowl. And these contribute indirectly to the economy of the US. Sport industry in the United States brings in roughly $14.3 billion a year. It also contributes to creating 456,000 jobs with an average salary of $39,000 per job.
Sport England said that sport's contribution to the English economy reached £20.3 billion in 2010, which is 1.9% of the England’s total GDP. Because of this, the sports industry has become one of the top 15 industry sectors in England. The number of people with sport-related jobs in 2010 is estimated to be over 400,000. And that number is 2.3% of all employment in England.
The sport goods market in China has grown steadily, and China earned $38 billion U.S. dollars from the domestic sports industry. The Chinese government will be investing 5 trillion yuan to the sports industry – about 805 billion U.S. dollars.
Sport industry in Korea can be the “golden goose” if the Korean government supports it. Actually, the Korean government realized that the sports industry can be an important contributor to the economy and started to help in 2014. The Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism created a Sport Industry Department in December 2013, and the Korean government reduced the interest rate of the financing investors of the sports industry.
According to research from the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the sport goods market has led to the growth of Sport Industry, but the Department of Sport Facility and Sport Service has been weakened because of poor management. It is still hard to make a new revenue model because of a lack of professionalism in the area of technical development. Furthermore, domestic companies can’t grow in the sport goods market because it is difficult to develop new equipment without more government support.
Sport industry still needs much more support before it can realize its full potential.
There has been much less investment in Sport Industry than in other industries. The financing of the sports industry in 2013 was 8.2 billion won while the tourism industry’s financing was 377 billion won. According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Sport Industry has not been developed well because of the lack of investors even though it has the potential to affect the economy.
Korea has already proven our potential by successfully hosting the World Cup, Winter and Summer Olympics, and Championships in Athletics; Korea is the fifth country to have hosted four mega sports events. If the Korean government becomes one of the investors in Sport Industry, it would be a home-run for the economy!
Kim Chang-min (Daejeon Daeshin High School)