Soccer-playing stars splash across small screen

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : Jun 30, 2019 - 16:30
  • Updated : Jun 30, 2019 - 16:30

On the coattails of Son Heung-min’s memorable outing in the UEFA Champions League finals and the Korean national team’s second-place finish in the U-20 World Cup, the country’s soccer scene is now being celebrated on the small screen, with an array of programs related to the kick-happy sport.

Leading the way is a documentary series on the Tottenham Hotspur forward himself, a documentary series “Sonsational: The Making of Son Heung-min” on tvN.

Poster for “Sonsational: The Making of Son Heung-min” (CJ ENM)

The six-part documentary series shows the life of Son, following his journey back and forth between England and South Korea. More than just showing the star on the field, the show shares insight into the personal life of the 26-year-old.

Son reportedly received a guaranteed of 100 million won ($86,600) per episode. The Friday night show has one episode left, marking an average viewership of around 2.2 percent.

Another show sets itself apart by highlighting a team’s management. KBS2’s “Mansuro” tells the story of actor Kim Soo-ro, who has become the president of Chelsea Rovers Football Club in England.

Kim is a soccer enthusiast who previously ran an amateur celebrity team. The show bills itself as “a story about a dream.”

Though owning a major soccer team could cost a fortune -- Emirati royal Sheikh Mansour acquired Manchester City Football Club for a reported 210 million pounds ($267 million today) in 2008 -- Kim got the club at a relative bargain, agreeing to pay 20 million won per year for the club.

Actor Kim Soo-ro is president of England’s Chelsea Rovers Football Club. (CRFC)

Chelsea Rovers FC is an amateur team that plays in the thirteenth level of English soccer. The London-based club, founded in summer 2018, consists players whose day jobs include teacher, interior designer and student.

The program shows how Kim and other members of the board struggle to manage the club. They hope to advance to the ninth tier, where the team would play in a semiprofessional league. The Friday night show that aired its first episode on June 21 has so far marked average viewership of 3.1 percent.

JTBC’s “Carefree Kickers” is a simpler show with more entertainment aspects.

The Thursday night show, which began a week before “Mansuro,” features Korean soccer legend Ahn Jung-whan.

“Carefree Kickers” features sports stars forming an amateur soccer team. (JTBC)

The program shows Ahn working to field an amateur team with major stars of other sports. They include a former basketball player, Olympic gold medalist shooter and mixed martial artist.

Though stars in their own pursuits, when it comes to the soccer field, the legends struggle to keep up.

According to the show’s producer, they were inspired by the “Avengers” and “Incredibles” movies, and thought about what it would be like if sports heroes came together to form a new super team.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)