Tottenham Hotspur to play two exhibition games in Korea in July
Tottenham Hotspur confirmed Tuesday that it will be bringing its senior men's team to Korea this summer to play two exhibition games in July.
In a press release on Tuesday night, Spurs announced that the Premier League club will play two games in a series hosted by streaming service Coupang Play and Pitch International. The dates and opponents for the matches have not yet been announced.
The July trip will mark the first time the popular Premier League club, home to both Korean national team captain Son Heung-min and Korea's all-time most capped women's player Cho So-hyun, has visited the country. Spurs have been to Asia a few times in recent years — to Malaysia in 2015 and to Singapore and China in 2019 — but have never been to Korea.
Playing in Korea will be big business for Spurs. Nielsen Fan Insights in 2020 found that Tottenham had roughly 11 million fans in Korea, making it the most popular Premier League team by far with 21.4 percent of the population aged between 16 and 69 at the time. Manchester United — who have played exhibition games here — came in a distant second with 6.1 percent.
“We are delighted to be heading back out on tour after what has been such a challenging time for us all," Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham Hotspur, was quoted as saying in the press release.
“A trip to Korea, in particular, is long overdue — we are well aware of the incredible support we have there, with many fans travelling to London to watch our matches in recent years.”
As well as the exhibition games, Spurs will also be bringing its Global Football Development program to Korea by hosting training camps for young players.
The club's players and ambassadors will also be "out and about in the cities that we visit, meeting fans, supporting good causes and immersing themselves in local culture," although any off-the-pitch plans could still be disrupted by Covid-19 regulations.
“I am extremely excited to be returning home to South Korea this summer alongside my Spurs team-mates — for most of whom this will be their first visit," Son said in a statement. "I can’t wait to see their reaction to the passionate Korean fans and the incredible atmosphere in what we are sure will be packed out stadiums for our matches.”
According to rumors reported last month, one of the possible fixtures proposed by Coupang wouldn't see Spurs take on a local team, but rather clash with Spanish La Liga club RCD Mallorca, who are presumably also being encouraged to visit Korea. That game would pitch Son against top prospect and fan favorite Lee Kang-in.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]