The financial pulling power of Korea’s soccer stars

Shinhan Bank Man Utd cardReaders may recall that during this year’s World Cup I spotted a couple of news items reporting how Korean banks were using football to get in new business.

But it’s not just the national team which pulls in the financial punters. Park Ji-sung, the sportsman with the biggest brand power in Korea, has been used to launch a Man Utd branded credit card issued by Shinhan Bank. The Chosun reports that according to a Shinhan official, an incredible 600,000 cards have been issued in Korea since its launch in February this year.

What’s even more incredible is that, according to the Chosun, overall there are 60 million Man Utd credit cards in issue globally. That’s a lot of fees the club will be getting every day as their fans indulge in retail therapy.

For once, though, I’m not going to believe what’s in the Chosun. Granted, the Manchester United official website is not necessarily up to date, but according to them, there are only 200,000 cards in issue outside the UK. In order to make up the Chosun’s 60 million globally, pretty much every man, woman and child in the UK would need to have one of these cards. A straw poll of people in my office reveals that that’s pretty unlikely.

As an aside, I happened to catch the highlights of a Reading game on Match of the Day the other night. I have to say, Seol Ki-hyeon was pretty good. I’m surprised Man U haven’t bought him.

 

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