In any major sport, the All-Star Game is a highlight of the season, as the spirit of competition eases, allowing fans and players alike to enjoy a carnival atmosphere.
This year, the K-League will hold its All-Star Game in Vietnam. A team of 18 league stars will face the Vietnamese U-23 national team in Hanoi on Saturday. The first K-League All-Star Game to be held overseas, the move is part of the league’s efforts to offset its waning popularity at home.
As in other Southeast Asian countries, football is the most popular sport in Vietnam, and interest is high in the major Asian leagues as well as the European ones.
Ten K-League matches were televised in the country in late 2015. “A match between Suwon Samsung Bluewings and Pohang Steelers garnered a 0.4 percent viewer rating, which compares favorably to the average for a European league game of between 0.3 and 0.4 percent”, a K-League sttaffer said. “This alerted the league to the potential for overseas expansion”.
In this light, the Korea-Vietnam match could be seen as a way to promote the K-League brand in the Southeast Asian market. The game will be broadcast live locally.
In Vietnam, the national U-23 team is as popular as the senior squad, and its performance followed closely. Luong Xuan Truong, who plays for Gangwon FC in the K-League, will suit up for his home country.
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