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News: FC Seoul set new paid K League attendance record

A total of 51,670 spectators in attendance for FC Seoul versus Incheon United in Round 2 of the 2024 Hana Bank K League season is a new paid attendance record.

The figure is also FC Seoul's largest for a home opener, the previous record was set in 2013 at 39,871 by Daegu FC at home to Jeonnam Dragons.

Since K League began counting paid attendances only in its official figures in 2018, the record was 45,007 set by FC Seoul against Daegu FC in April last year.

The bumper crowd was in part thanks to a half-time performance from popular singer Lim Young-woong.

This time, however, it's - at least in part - down to the Jesse Lingard effect.

FC Seoul announced on Thursday that as of 4 PM, 33,000 tickets had been sold. By 3 PM the following day, the figure had reached 37,000. 

By 3 PM Friday, an FC Seoul member of staff was quoted by E-Daily as saying that ticket sales were stronger compared to when Lim Young-woong visited and noted that on that day too, many people bought tickets on the day.

It's also another packed away end. Incheon brought over 3,300 to Seoul World Cup Stadium when the two teams met in Round 1 last year. This year, the upper tier has been opened up for an allocation of around 4,500. 

Seoul World Cup Stadium has a maximum capacity of 66,000 but for K League games, not all seats are open for ticket purchase.

The record K League attendance is 60,747 - set on Children's Day 2010 when FC Seoul took on Seongnam FC.

K League attendances had been recovering pre-pandemic, showing signs of a return to its late 2000s heyday. In 2019, a record 1.82 million fans went to the 228 matches in K League 1 alone, but once stadium restrictions were fully lifted in 2023, the league broke its record again. 

By September last year, 1.83 million fans had flocked to watch 176 games. By the end of the campaign, 3.01 million fans attended games in K League 1 and K League 2, beating the combined record of 2.36 million from 2019.

By division, K League 1 set a new record of 2.4 million and K League 2, also a new record, had around 564,000.

Naturally, record attendance meant record revenue with a touch over 33.8 billion Korean (US$25.8 million). The previous record was 19.5 billion won in 2019.

FC Seoul raked in the most money through gate receipts at 5.7 billion Korean won, with Ulsan HD in second at 4.3.

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