‘We were there with 1.83 million’ K League 1 sees largest single-season attendance since 2018

The K League 1 has broken the record for the largest single-season attendance since 2018, when the league began counting only paid spectators.

The Korea Professional Football Association announced on September 16, 2023, “As of 15:30 on September 16, 2023, there were a total of 1,837,901 paid spectators in 176 matches of the K League 1. This is the highest single-season attendance in the K League since the 2018 season, when only paid spectators were counted, and the previous record was 1,827,061 for 228 games in the 2019 season.”

In 2023, K League 1 entered a golden age. The official end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national team’s strong performance in the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and the improved performance of metropolitan clubs such as Ulsan Hyundai and Daejeon Hana Citizen drew soccer fans to the stadiums.

The opening game was a box office success. The opening game of the 2023 season drew 101,623 spectators, the largest opening round in history. This was largely due to the fact that there were several high-profile matches taking place at the same time, including the Hyundai Express Derby between Ulsan and Jeonbuk Hyundai, and the Gyeongin Derby between FC Seoul and Incheon United.굿모닝토토

Courtesy of the Korean Football Association

To date, the league has maintained more than 10,000 spectators per game. As of September 16, the average attendance per game in the K League 1 was 10,384. This is the highest average attendance since 2018, when the league began counting only paying fans, and since the league was reorganized into a promotion system in 2013.

Two games at 2 p.m. on the same day also broke the record for the largest crowd. 10,905 fans attended Jeonju World Cup Stadium for Jeonbuk and Gangwon FC, and 8,433 fans attended Incheon Football Stadium for Incheon and Jeju United. With nearly 20,000 fans in attendance for the two games, we broke the 2019 season record by 10,000 fans.

Now they’re looking at two million. Counting from the match between Pohang Steelers and Suwon FC at 4:30 p.m. on the 16th, there are 52 games left in K League 1. Assuming the current average attendance stays the same, the math works out to 2,377,869. That’s just shy of the record of 2,036,413 set in 2013, the season before the reorganization of the promotion system.