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South Korea: 3D World Cup Broadcast and the Square

In 2002 summer in South Korea, millions of soccer fans in red shirts swarmed the Seoul City Hall street, chantings and shouting are heard from every corner of of the city. People in front of the giant TV screens in the Seoul City Hall Square chanted, screamed and yelled in unison as the Korean Soccer team made it to the semi-final at the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

In 2010, Korean have gathered around one more time for the World Cup, but this time, at a most unlikely place, a theater.

Broadway cinema, Multiplex, in Seoul are broadcasting the World Cup live in 3D in more than 100 screens nationwide, starting from Korean team's first match with Greece on June 12.

A photo from the CGV site

Major Multiplex, like CGV, Lotte Cinema and MegaBox will be hosting the events and fans who succeeded in booking the event are bragging on their planned 3D World Cup experience in their blogs, some people even sell their tickets online for profit making.
 
One blogger who made reservation at 3:30 in the morning on June 23 in a theater far away from the house seemed relieved that he/she succeeded in booking any seat and commented on the Tistory blog.
 

이거 예매하는데 이렇게 힘들 줄이야.빛의 속도로 CGV로그인을 했는데…잔여석 ‘0’. 결국 고민고민하다 명동점으로 결정하고 예매완료.하지만 꼭 보고 싶다 3D!!!

I never knew making reservation (for the event) would be this much difficult. I logged on to the CGV site at lightning speed only to find out ‘zero’ remaining seat. Upon a second thought, I settled on the screens at Myung Dong and finalized by my reservation. I really want to see the 3D broadcast!!!

But, even to these early adopters, the void of the real life experience and the nostalgia for the 2002 World Cup at the Seoul City Hall Square still linger.

One blogger who signed up for the Lotte Cinema's 3D broadcast commented on the Naver blog:

2002년 월드컵 이후로 응원의 정석이 된 서울 광장에 갈 수 없는 상황이라면, 에어컨 빵빵한 극장의 와이드 스크린을 통해 다함께 대한민국 대표팀을 응원하는 것도 2010년 월드컵을 즐기는 방법이 될 수 있을 것 같아요.

If we can't go cheer together at the Seoul City Hall Square, a place which has become a standard cheering spot in the city after the 2002 World cup, another great way to support the Korean team in 2010 World Cup is via wide screens in a theater with awesome air-conditioning.

A controversy on the use of the City Hall Square has ignited on the internet as the World Cup draws near and companies strove to grab this humongous chance by hosting various commercial events in the City Hall Square. However, the Red Devils, the official supporting group for the Korea national soccer team decided to hold its World Cup event in the Coex, far away from the Seoul Square, expressing it's uneasiness toward commercialization of the people's voluntary World Cup culture.

A photo of Red Devils posted on the its’ homepage.

As more big corporates came to permeate the Seoul Square for their promotional events often mingled with the World Cup themes, the Seoul city government has been blamed for allowing that to happen.

The Cultural Action, a civic activist group based in Seoul, voiced its’ worries about the privatization of public space and the loss of people's true participation at the Square.:

현재 남아공 월드컵 서울광장 응원전은 FIFA 공식후원사인 현대차가 주관하고 SK 등이 후원사로 참가하는 형태로 정리되었다. …이로 인해 시민들의 자발적인 참여 속에 만들어져야 할 “일상의 축제” 가 철저히 거대자본에 의해 조직되고 동원되는 “자본의 축제”로 변질되었다.

It has been decided the World Cup events at the City Hall Square to be organized by Hyundai Car which is the official FIFA supporter and be supported by SK (SK Holdings) …(Peoples’) ‘festivals of everyday’ through citizen's voluntary participations has relegated into ‘festivals of the capitalism’ which so thoroughly organized and mobilized by big corporates.

The director of the Seoul City government media team, Kim Eun Sook said in a phone interview with South Korean online newspaper ‘Newsway’ that hiding the company's trail from the World cup events
will mitigate the promotional effects.

서울광장은 개인 및 단체 등 누구에게나 월드컵응원을 할 수 있도록 개방되어 있다. 하지만 서울광장 조례에도 나와있듯 기업브랜드, 로고 및 휘장을 사용할 수 없다.

The Seoul Square is opened to any individual and organization for the World Cup support events. However, as written in the Seoul Square's ordinance, companies cannot use(display) their brand names, logos or emblems.

Despite the city's explanation, more people are grumbling online that they prefer the Square not be appropriated by big conglomerates while some are looking for substitute World Cup experience in the virtual world, both chasing after the irrevocable World Cup fever in 2002 at the Square.

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