At fan appreciation day, let’s hear it for the boys

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At fan appreciation day, let’s hear it for the boys

I understand the logic. Professional sports teams want to attract more female supporters, and they’re willing to go to extremes to do it.

The Suwon Bluewings are christening their April 24 game against Gangwon FC “Ladies Day.” The promotional posters feature Yui of the girl group After School, and promise female visitors a nail art booth and face-painting zone outside the stadium before the start of the match.

Nail art booths? The idea of rows of women waiting to get their nails painted outside a stadium is enough to make any hard-core football fan cringe.

But there’s more. An entire section of the Suwon World Cup Stadium - that’s the entire east side, which gives one of the two best views of the field - is being devoted to female fans. And they’ll be admitted free of charge.

Suwon’s not the only team getting up to these tactics. Last season, Doosan held a “Queen’s Day” on the fourth Saturday of each month. As a sign of appreciation for the increased number of female fans over the past three seasons and also to attract more female fans to games, Doosan dressed its players in uniforms and hats infused with pink. The team also gave women a discount on tickets and gave away vouchers to salad bars at a family restaurant as well as vouchers for free coffee and cookies.

Last year’s event was successful enough that Doosan is continuing it this season. And the idea has its attractions for both genders. Bringing more women to the stadiums boosts overall attendance, a win for the teams, and it piques the interest of male fans, too. Let’s face it, having Yui at a game along with a large group of women helps spruce up the atmosphere.

If the promotions work the way team officials planned, great. But I hope the marketing tactics don’t lean too heavily in favor of any one side.

Some appreciation would work for us guys, too. I don’t know too many men who would salivate over vouchers to salad bars or free coffee, but a free cookie would be enough to make a lot of us happy.

I want to know when Suwon is going to hold a fan appreciation day for its male supporters. And it’s time for us guys to start demanding equal treatment.

Where’s the love for the men who regularly dish out the dough, not just for tickets but for beer, food and items at the concession stands?

It’s time that professional teams gave the male fans a chance to feel appreciated and pampered. Here’s my idea of a fan appreciation day: monthly free meals and beer for all season-ticket holders and support group members, and autographed baseballs or footballs for the first 200 male fans to pass through the turnstile. We’d appreciate cheerleaders at football games, too.

And let’s set up a screen golf booth outside the stadium with a professional golfer on site to give tips on swing techniques. They can place it next to the nail art booth.

*“The Punch” appears Fridays in the JoongAng Daily.


By Jason KIM [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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