Sport in South Korea - Statistics & Facts

As of 2017, the South Korean sports industry was worth over 70 trillion South Korean won (over 60 billion U.S. dollars). The number of companies and workers in the industry, the market size for sports-related merchandise and equipment, and sponsorship of professional sports grew steadily. Additionally, government funding for research and development in sports increased almost every year. The exception was 2017, when government funding was suddenly cut by a third. Most of the companies, workers, and revenue came from the capital city of Seoul and its surrounding province of Gyeonggi-do. The merchandize industry, in particular, has seen steady growth in the past several years.

There were around 59 thousand sports facilities across Korea in 2017. The most numerous were billiards halls, with over 22 thousand registered as of 2017. Coming in second were martial arts studios with around 14,500 studios. Fitness centers have also increased in recent years.

However, Korean people were not very likely to participate in sports themselves. Over 40 percent of people surveyed responded that taking a walk was their favorite sport, while the largest share of respondents said they never participated in sports at all in 2018. For those who engaged regularly in sports, weight training, and jogging and marathon running were the physical activities of choice.

Nevertheless, people have shown increased interest in professional sports in recent years. Ticket sales at matches and other events grew by 40 percent over the four years from 2014. By far the most popular sport was baseball, with over eight million spectators in 2017, in contrast to the mere 1.5 million spectators at football matches. Most people went to sports events with friends or family.

The market size of the sportswear industry has largely remained stable in recent years, at around 7.5 trillion South Korean Won. Despite this, certain types of sportswear have seen steady growth, such as the market for leggings, which has continued to increase by twenty percent while the total market merely fluctuated. Another is the brand Andar, which makes yoga clothing, and which has seen revenue skyrocket from almost nothing to seventy billion won. The most popular brand was Nike, chosen by almost half of the ten thousand respondents in a survey. Coming in second was Adidas, selected by less than 15 percent of the respondents.

Interesting statistics

In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 21 most important statistics relating to "Sport in South Korea".

Sport in South Korea

Dossier on the topic

All important statistics are prepared by our experts – available for direct download as PPT & PDF!

Important key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Sport in South Korea" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Sport facilities

Participation & spectating


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