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NEWS

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2023 K League Club Awards, Special Achievements & Attendance Record

league 2023.12.12   I   hits 617

As well as MVP, Manager of the Year, and Young Player of the Year awards, there are also other special awards given out to clubs and players. 

Fan Friendly Awards

The Fan Friendly Club Award is given to the most notable fan-friendly club in a season. Three times during the season, a review committee composed of external experts conduct evaluations. The results from the first and the second evaluations make up 40% followed by a media vote for 40% and fan vote for 20% to award to the team with the most points. 

K League 1 - Daejeon Hana Citizen

Daejeon has reached out to fans with various events at home games and through environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) campaigns to implement the vision of a carbon-neutral league, as well as community contribution activities, and fan-friendly marketing. Thanks to this, the average audience in the 2023 season increased by 466%, more than six times compared to last year, to 12,857 people.

K League 2 - Gimcheon Sangmu

Two-way communication between Gimcheon Sangmu fans and players was achieved by holding a discharge ceremony for each player completing their military service. In addition, Gimcheon worked hard to reach out to local supporters through various regional activities such as holding a brand day and conducting live commerce.
 
Full Stadium Award - FC Seoul

The Full Stadium Award is given to the club that has attracted the largest number of paid spectators this season. FC Seoul recorded a cumulative total of 430,029 spectators entering a total of 19 home games in the 2023 season, with 22,633 spectators on average.

'Plus Stadium' Award - FC Seoul

FC Seoul also won the Plus Stadium Award, which evaluates the growth in the number of paid spectators year-on-year. FC Seoul's average attendance in the league last season was 8,786, and an average of 22,633 people visited the Seoul World Cup Stadium this season, up 13,847.

Green Stadium Award - Seoul E-Land

The Green Stadium Award is for the highest level of ground management in one stadium. The decision is made by summing up the quantitative evaluation of a grass-specialized research institute and the evaluation scores of the game supervisors and the teams. Mokdong Sports Complex, the home stadium of Seoul E-Land, provided the best ground for the players through systematic grass management by the Seoul Sports Facility Management Office.

'Love-Sharing' Awards

The 'Love-Sharing' Awards are for clubs that have taken the lead in social responsibility through various social contribution activities during one season. It is determined by summing up the quantitative evaluation scores of all 25 clubs on the number of social contribution activities, the number of participants in the club, the number of beneficiaries, and the qualitative evaluation scores of external experts on social value, ripple power and effect, significance, and continuity.

K League 1 - Suwon Samsung Bluewings

Suwon Samsung Bluewings have contributed to improving awareness of the disabled through the operation and events of home games for the developmentally disabled and autistic by introducing the "Suwon Samsung Shoulder Companion Association" campaign. In addition, Suwon operated a local small business promotion program "Blue House" and held an amateur women's futsal competition "Bluesis Cup 2023."

K League 2 - Bucheon FC 1995

Bucheon recently operated on-site sales for tickets for the digital underprivileged to close the digital gap and fulfilled its social responsibility as a football club through various eco-friendly activities.

Youth Award - FC Seoul

The K League Youth Club Awards will be decided based on the number of professional players, the number of games and game hours played by professional players in the team over the past three years, and Youth Trust results, an evaluation system for K League youth clubs, and this year's K League youth competition performance. FC Seoul has been honored with the Youth Club Awards for three consecutive years since 2021.

Fair Play Award - Gangwon FC

The Fair Play Award is for the club with the least penalty points among the 12 K League 1 clubs, including yellow cards, red cards, fouls, and disciplinary action by the reward and punishment committee. Gangwon FC never had a direct red card issued to one of its players this season, and the number of yellow cards was 60, the lowest among K League 1 clubs.

'Green Winners' Award - Suwon Samsung Bluewings

The Green Winners Award, which was established in 2021, is given to clubs that have engaged in various eco-friendly campaigns. Suwon Samsung has signed an agreement with the Suwon World Cup Stadium Management Foundation to reduce 165 tons of greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing and using all the electricity needed for home games as renewable energy. In addition, it has taken the lead in creating an eco-friendly sports culture by improving the environment around the stadium through waste recycling and establishing a colourless PET bottle recovery system in the stadium.

Best Photo Award - OSEN Lee Seok-woo

The Best Photo Award is an award that the Korea Sports Photographers Association selects as the best K League game press photograph of a season through voting by its members. This year's best photo was taken by OSEN reporter Lee Seok-woo, who took a photo of coach Hong Myung-bo roaring with joy after winning 1-0 in the 27th round of the K League 1 Ulsan vs. Jeonbuk at Munsu Football Stadium in Ulsan on August 19th. 

FC Online K League Celebration Award - Moon Seon-min

The FC Online K League Celebration of the Year Award was newly established this year as an award given to players who participated in the Celebration Challenge hosted by EA SPORTS FC ONLINE. The first winner was Moon Seon-min of Jeonbuk, who entertained fans with a variety of celebrations, from his signature ceremony, the control tower, to the Slickback and the Muevelo.

EA Most Selected Player - Kim Tae-hwan

EA Most Selected Player is an award given to K League players who have been selected the most by game users in EA SPORTS FC™ 24 in a year, and this year's winner is Kim Tae-hwan from Ulsan. Kim Tae-hwan has played in 398 games in the K League alone during his spells with Seongnam, Sangju and Ulsan among others since his debut at FC Seoul in 2010. He played 21 games this season, scoring one goal and assisting one.

Ever Present

In all K League 1 and 2 this season, a total of three players played in every single game for their clubs this season, those being Lee Chang-geun (Daejeon), Hwang In-jae (Pohang), and Ku Sang-min (Busan). All are goalkeepers. 

Lee Chang-geun played as Daejeon's main goalkeeper in  -League 2 last season and helped guide the team to promotion. In K League 1 this season he played every single minute. Hwang In-jae returned to Pohang after being discharged from Gimcheon at the end of last year, and contributed to Pohang's runner-up spot. Lastly, Koo Sang-min played in all games for the first time in his career this season.


Attendances

The K League celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Attendance figures for the season showed that the league's popularity is better than ever with over three million fans taking in games in K League 1 and 2 this season. This is a figure never seen since K League began counting the number of paid spectators.

A total of 46,789 paid spectators entered the final three games of the K League 1 regular round held on December 3rd. As a result, there was a total of 3,011,509 paid spectators in the 2023 season, 2,447,147 in K League 1 and 564,362 in K League 2.

The K League attracted 101,632 fans to the opening round of the first division this year, achieving the largest number of spectators in Round 1 ever since the promotion system was introduced (2013-present). It then recorded a total of 1,837,901 at 176 games in K League 1, breaking the record for the largest number of spectators (1,827,061 in the 2019 season) in a single season in K League 1 since only the number of paid spectators was counted.

The average attendance in K League 1 is 17,733. This is the first time in 12 years that there's been an average of 10,000 - since 2011 when the average was 11,634 in the 2011 season.

K League 2 also achieved the highest number of paid spectators in a single season. From a total of 236 games, including the K League 2 regular league, the playoff semifinal, and K League 2 playoff final, there was a total 564,362 paid spectators counted. The previous record was 536,217 in the 2019 season.