K League Provides a Roadmap to Premier League, Bundesliga Return
Updated: 2020-05-12 16:30:23 KST
There were times when matches behind closed doors were seen as a punishment for teams whose fans were violent or chanted racist songs. Those were the normal times.
Now, matches behind closed doors are the only way that clubs can play any sport. And, even that is seen as extraordinary in this time of COVID-19.
Korean football's K League was definitely the focus of the football and wider sports world's attention over the weekend, as it resumed its season after suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's providing a roadmap for other leagues around the world on how to play football in the era of the coronavirus.
Football in COVID-19: It's the topic of our News In-depth tonight with Ryan Walters, Editor in Chief of "K League United", the official English content provider for KLeague.com
Ryan, it's great to see you again.
The league began on Friday evening with a game between league number one, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors and Suwon Samsung Bluewings. Five more matches were played over the weekend.
As one of the only leagues in action, not only was it streamed live online for free, globally, on YouTube and Twitter it was broadcast around the world.
It's been reported that around 3.4 million people watched the matches.
The league was buoyed by media-rights deals in 36 countries around the world ahead of the opening weekend. When was it ever that K League has ever gotten such a huge attention?
I'm sure it wasn't JUST for the football itself, but also to see how the safety measures worked out.
You've had your hands full all weekend commentating on all the games. What was that like?
What were some highlights? What was it like commentating to such a huge audience?
With K-Sports at the center of attention around the world, "K League United" provides English coverage of K League, how has it been received by overseas fans? How is the K League received around the world?
Because of the delayed start to the season, the number of matches has been reduced from 38 to 27.
What does this mean for K League - the players, the fans, the sport overall?
Anything particularly different because of COVID-19?
I'm sure it's the players who are most sensitive to the slightest change one that could even affect their performance. Let's hear from their perspective.
A living K League legend, the second-highest goal scorer in the league's 37-year history, Daegu FC striker Dejan Damjanovic joins us live from Daegu.
Hi there Dejan. Thanks so much for linking up with us.
The long awaited start to the K League kicked off last Friday.
How was the first game against Incheon United for you, and for Daegu FC?
K-Sports in general has recently become even more popular among broadcasters around the world as the rest of the leagues in the world came to a stop due to COVID-19.
The K League now has broadcast rights in 36 countries including Serbia which is very close to home for you. What was your involvement in making some of these overseas deals happen?
Why was it important to you to get K League broadcast overseas?
Even though the season has kicked off, there are adjustments due to COVID-19.
While the no-spitting policy can been controlled, football is a sport that's impossible to play without talking. How are you playing the game without talking to your teammates?
In the absence of fans, in efforts to recapture a match-like atmosphere to some extent, sounds of fans cheering can be heard throughout the game.
Is this something that helps the players? What kind of effect does it have for you on the field?
As one of the most prominent strikers of K League, you're 11 goals away from the 200-goal milestone.
But with the delayed start to the season due to COVID-19, the number of matches has now been cut down to 27. Do you think this may affect your reaching your milestone?
Last but not least, what does K League mean to you?
Dejan Damjanovic, striker for Daegu FC, many thanks for speaking with us tonight and best of luck to you throughout this season.
What are some things in general to look for in K League this season?
Following KBO, as a positive side effect of COVID-19, what are some added benefits we can anticipate from the huge global interest centered around K League?
(some may say K League is no match to the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A)
Ryan Walters, Editor in Chief for K League United, thank you for your insights as always. We appreciate it.