Ulsan clinched the title early with a 2-0 victory over Daegu FC in the 35th round of the Hana OneQ K League 2023 at Munsu Football Stadium on April 29. Ulsan reached 70 points with 21 wins, seven draws and seven losses. They are 10 points clear of second-place Pohang Steelers (60 points).
Ulsan won its first league title in 17 years with one game remaining last season. This season, they won their fourth title with three games remaining. The brilliant combination of veteran players and developing rookies, as well as the strong charisma and one-team spirit of head coach Hong Myung-bo, helped Ulsan win its first back-to-back titles and fourth overall.토토사이트
One of the driving forces behind the team’s reputation as one of the strongest in the K League is its ‘luxury promotion and marketing strategy’. By fulfilling the needs of its fans in a variety of ways, the team has earned the title of No. 1 in soccer and No. 1 in PR and marketing. Ulsan’s awards speak for themselves. Since the first game of the 2021 season, the team has been recognized as the Fan Friendly Club (including the Grand Prize) nine times in a row. This is the most consecutive awards among K League teams.
The documentary “Blue Wave 2023,” which coined the phrase “This is the team!” by director Hong Myung-bo, has been a hit every season. Ulsan’s own documentary Blue Waves, produced since 2021, was recognized for its competitiveness as a content by becoming the first professional sports program to be broadcast on OTT in its first season.
Now in its third year, the Blue Wave series serves as a bridge between clubs, players, and fans. Furthermore, it has evolved into a content that provides a blueprint for the direction of video content production, promotion, and distribution of K League clubs. Through Blue Waves, players review the team’s situation and themselves, raising their professionalism.
Through various other contents, the players are becoming more familiar to fans. In three years, they have uploaded a total of 515 pieces of related content. The team gained 15,134 YouTube subscribers in 2023 and is close to reaching 50,000 total subscribers.
One of the reasons for the existence of professional teams is to create social and economic value. The team opened a fan cafe, Cafe Blue Wave, to actively communicate with fans. Players transformed into daily baristas and served coffee and drinks to fans, allowing them to interact with them through conversation.
With the active cooperation and support of Ulsan Metropolitan City and Ulsan Facilities Management Corporation, Ulsan opened a media exhibition center on the second floor of the W section of its home stadium, Munsoo Football Stadium. The pavilion showcases the history and stories of Ulsan, which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. It is operated as one of the courses of the stadium tour.
There’s even a song to go with the name. Ulsan local musician Gil Ki-pan and Ulsan supporters Chae Yong Warriors created a new Ulsan-specific cheer with the meaning “Let’s all shout together as one so that our dreams can come true.” The songs, “Run to the end” and “Over the star,” are slowly gaining ground among fans as they express everyone’s desire to win the championship and the players’ and fans’ resolve to do their best in matches and cheering.
The interest of the fans and the intensified soccer fever in Ulsan have led to monumental achievements for the club. Of Ulsan’s 16 billion won in revenue (excluding support from its parent company), marketing activities alone have generated 10.2 billion won so far this season. This includes KRW 4 billion in tickets, KRW 3.2 billion in sponsorships (excluding group companies), KRW 1.4 billion in F&B, and KRW 1.6 billion in merchandise sales, all achieved purely through the club’s own efforts. These marketing figures are more than just a popularity indicator, but a sign of the club’s self-sustainability.
Ulsan’s PR and marketing growth is most easily seen in its home attendance numbers in the K League this season. Ulsan drew 18,933 fans against Daegu. In total, Ulsan drew 300,406 fans in 17 home games this season. This is the first time the club has surpassed 300,000 fans in a single season since its inception.
In the entire K League, the team reached 300,000 home attendance for only the second time since the implementation of the paid attendance policy. The average home attendance this season is currently 17,670. This ranks second all-time after the 1998 season’s 19,926 (11 games). The club is overcoming the limitations of being a non-metropolitan club, with gate receipts of 400 million won in 2014 and projected to reach 4 billion won by 2023. Attendance is the club’s most obvious measure of success.
Ulsan’s jerseys have become a rare commodity. Eight jerseys were sold online and offline this season, including the blue + yellow home jersey and the white + sky away jersey. Online sales were quickly sold out, and tents were set up at the stadium ahead of the offline sales, totaling 15,000 jerseys.
To prevent a uniform rush ahead of the 2024 season, Ulsan held a pre-order from September 8-13, six months earlier than usual, and sold 3,000 jerseys. The team aims to keep enough stock on hand to ensure fans can buy as many as they want, whenever they want, throughout next season.
For the 2023 season, Ulsan has an ambitious trump card. It’s its own F&B (food and beverage) business. While performance is the best marketing, the outside world is also essential. Fans have higher expectations. If it’s pleasing to the eye, ear, and mouth, it’s a win-win. That’s why Ulsan introduced the F&B business with the idea that there is no end to capturing fans’ desires.
The K League has about 20 home games a year. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League (ACL) and FA Cup are played during the week, making it difficult to gather fans. Including all competitions, there are up to 30 games. This is why most businesses are reluctant to enter soccer stadiums. To solve this problem, members of the Ulsan marketing team traveled across the country to attract businesses. The result is a local favorite, Whale Tteokbang, a famous franchise chicken, bunsik, cafes, and convenience stores. Sales exceeded KRW 1.2 billion, exceeding the original goal of KRW 1 billion.
Ulsan is also working to create a supportive environment. Thanks to the support of the Ulsan Metropolitan City and Ulsan Facilities Management Corporation, the Munsoo Soccer Stadium’s S-seat standing area was expanded by 760 seats, bringing the total to 1,220, allowing fans to cheer louder for the entire 90 minutes.
Efforts are also being made to establish Munsoo Football Stadium as a soccer cultural space. A total of six ‘stadium tours’ were held on Saturdays when there were no home games, with 358 people participating. The program is designed to give fans from the Seoul metropolitan area and other regions more fun and memories when they visit Ulsan. Fans have responded to the club’s efforts. Each event is sold out as soon as it opens. Thanks to this response, Ulsan aims to expand the program to a full-time stadium tour.
But Ulsan has even bigger ambitions. It wants to grow its Little Friends soccer program, which currently serves about 400 members per month, to about 1,400 members per month. To provide better facilities and programs for its members, it has joined forces with local universities, Ulsan National University and Ulsan University of Science and Technology. Ultimately, the program aims to give more than 10,000 children of the same age in the city of Ulsan the opportunity to wear Ulsan’s uniforms until they graduate from elementary school.
The team also hosts the Ulsan City Superintendent of Education Art Competition at every home game, and invites the Ulsan MBC Choir and Dream Assist to perform, all with the goal of “Ulsan Hyundai is always with its citizens.
Ulsan’s season isn’t over yet. Even if the soccer season comes to an end with the group stage of the ACL as well as the K League, Ulsan Hyundai aims to continue the fever of soccer in Ulsan next year and beyond by constantly interacting with fans.