Football Goes East: Business, Culture, and the People's Game in China, Japan, and South Korea

By Wolfram Manzenreiter; John Horne | Go to book overview

2

Strategies for locating professional sports leagues

A comparison between France and Korea

Loïc Ravenel and Christophe Durand


Introduction

When the hosts of the 2002 Football World Cup Finals were announced, it was a double surprise: first, because two countries (Japan and South Korea) were chosen to co-organise the event and, second, because these countries had not traditionally been considered as homes to football. As occurred in 1994 in the United States, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) implemented a world-wide development strategy by assigning its major event to two countries with strong economic potential but weak football cultures. The shift from the 1998 World Cup organiser, France, to Korea in 2002 provided an opportunity to examine a major transformation in the structure of collective sports that has been underway for the past 20 years. In an increasingly deregulated world, the companies that produce spectator sports championships are being concentrated and privatised under the pressures of strong market growth. This movement toward globalisation has been the impetus for new location strategies that affect all the various parties involved in sports: private and public investors, governing bodies, public authorities (local and national), the general public - and the leagues themselves.

This chapter compares the location strategies of the French and Korean professional football leagues from a dual perspective, that of geography and that of management. The characteristics of each country's entertainment sports industry are highlighted and used to shed light on a social evolution that is under way, since the implications of global transformation in sports certainly exceed football. The investigation of developments in spectator sports in fact seems to be a valid means to gain insight into wider society and civilisation. After presenting the two major models of professional league organisation (the North American and European systems), we will examine the Korean and French situations in detail to distinguish both similarities and differences. We will then look at the significance of space within these structures by analysing team location from a dynamic point of view. Finally, we will emphasise the importance of the spatial strategies underlying these systems, as well as the effects concomitant with both countries being involved in the organisation of World Cup Finals.

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