September 21, 2015

How the Korean Shirt Seller can Enhance Your Commercial Success in Korea


Football does funny things to people - it makes men cry.  You can't put into words the hollow feeling a Liverpool fan losing to Manchester United is akin to a death in the family.

The transfer season in football is a stressful time for most football fans. Player transfer can generally make or break your team's season, star signings by a manager can generally mean glory for fans and commercial bonanza for teams. A member of your national team is like the birth of a child in the family. Work stops and strangers come together to celebrate.

Commercial strategies have become more apparent with each transfer season, with team's now focusing on the commercial potential of the Asian fan base. The 'shirt seller' has become an important tool for European football teams.

The 'shirt seller' has become a popular term coined by the big teams in Europe purchasing a player from Asia. Tottenham Hotspurs in the English Premier League recently bought Korean young gun Son Hyung Min into their ranks. Min is Korea's equivalent of Le Bron, the go-to guy on the Korean National team. His acquisition represents a significant commercial boost for Tottenham in Korea.

Partnering your brand with a Korean face like Min can lead to an immediate commercial impact in Asia. Min had, previously, played with a mid-level team in Germany's Bundesliga. Min's games from Germany were televised on a weekly basis into Korea with a localized commentary and there was the knock-on effect of increased shirt sales and other commercial opportunities with Korean companies looking to expand into the European market. With Min in the Premier League many would consider him the natural successor to Park Ji Sung, Manchester United's ambassador in Asia. Part of Park's success with United is that Korean's love a winner.

Min's commercial impact in Korea will become significant over the next few months - increased broadcast time in Asia and access to Korean sponsorship. Football teams in Europe are placing greater emphasis on the commercial value of Asian fans with the increased number of pre-season tours in the region. With Min at Tottenham, Koreans will also be keeping an eye on Lee Seung Woo, the 'Korean Messi' at Barcelona, the next big thing after Min. Korean players have become a window for commercial opportunities into a major Asian economy.
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Dan Gardner may be contacted at DanielGardner@ipglegal.com. Daniel Gardner is an in-house Commercial Advisor for IPG Legal.