On the 30th of last month, the Goyang Gymnasium where the 2022-2023 season SKT Adot Professional Basketball regular league 4th round match between Goyang Carrot and Seoul Samsung was held. When Carrot Kim Jin-yu’s 3-point shot led to an air ball, a sigh came from the audience. Carrot Jeon Seong-hyun’s record of 76 successive three-point shots was also stopped on the same day. Son Mo, a basketball fan in his 30s, said, “It’s too futile if a 3-point shot becomes an air ball in a chance situation. I wonder who will visit the basketball court often.”
The basketball animation ‘The First Slam Dunk’ is gaining popularity by surpassing 2 million viewers, but the popularity of Korean Professional Basketball League (KBL) is hardly recovering. Looking at the distribution of reservations by age (based on CGV) of 2 million viewers, 18.7% in their 20s and 38.6% in their 30s. This is even more regrettable considering the fact that people of all ages are enjoying slam dunk.
These days, when channels are diversified, audience ratings cannot represent all awareness, but it is true that it is a part that can directly confirm the decline in popularity. The professional basketball viewership, which was previously not as high as 0.2%, fell to 0.19% in the 2018-2019 season and did not recover to the 0.2% line, and fell every time during the five seasons, and is now down to 0.10% in the 2022-2023 season. Even the number of spectators who suffered the most direct damage due to the Corona 19 incident has hardly recovered the 3,000 mark.
Of course, the deterioration in skills itself is the primary cause of the decline in fans’ interest. Achieving good results in international competitions is one of the ways to create stars and naturally increase the popularity of domestic leagues, but Korean basketball has not participated in the Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Even in Asia, after winning the gold medal at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, it is difficult to expect a gold medal because of competitors such as Iran and China. SPOTV commentator Lee Kyu-seop, a former national basketball team member, explained, “It is difficult to say that professional basketball itself this season is at a lower level than in the past, but as time goes by, it is a concern that the dependence on foreign players such as the US and the Philippines is growing more than domestic players.”
However, it is pointed out inside and outside the basketball world that more efforts are needed to capture the hearts of fans than skills. Lee Jeong-hak, professor at the College of Physical Education at Kyung Hee University, said, “Marketing is to increase the value of the sluggish core product (competitive power) by using additional products (public relations, etc.).” Various attempts are needed, such as giving discounts to customers who have tickets and goods (fan products) when purchasing games. Also, as retro styles that stimulate emotions are popular recently, stars from the days of the basketball court should also use them.”
Kim Jeong-yoon, director of Wesleyquest, who has been in charge of Korean professional sports consulting for many years, insisted on increasing fans and securing profits based on data. Director Kim said, “If there are not enough stories to enjoy other than simple wins and losses, I can’t buy my heart.
In volleyball, a winter sport like basketball, there is an example of increasing the fan base through data analysis. Director Kim said, “Volleyball has collected more than 150,000 data such as gender, age, and reason for visiting for the past four years for ticket-purchasing audiences, and based on this, MDs have been created. In the case of this year’s All-Star game, ticket prices for good seats that give uniforms It was 150,000 won, but it gained popularity and increased sales by an average of 3 times compared to the past 5 years.”
However, since this season, relaying through Naver and YouTube, which are the most accessible, is impossible for professional basketball, so the problem is that there are few channels for efficient marketing and attracting new fans. Currently, professional basketball must be viewed through the SPOTV channel, the KBL integrated website and application (app), or Afreeca TV, which has purchased new media broadcasting rights. Commentator Lee said, “More people recognize me while appearing in sports entertainment than when I was a coach and commentator. Just as basketball became more popular when the drama ‘Last Match’ (1994) aired in the past, the basketball world is becoming more and more popular in the media. We need to pay close attention,” he said.
The Professional Basketball Federation is also struggling to increase its popularity through new media. The official YouTube account KBL TV recently surpassed 100,000 subscribers in five seasons since it was first introduced to basketball fans in the 2018-2019 season. In addition to games, we are making efforts to provide contents that can inform each team and players, while starting a new English subtitle service as Filipino players and others play. 카지노