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Dive into the energetic world of South Korea, where traditions blend with modernity!

South Korea’s passion for sports knows no bounds.

Soccer may dominate the scene, but other sports capture the nation’s heart, too!

Uncover the 11 most popular sports in South Korea with our list.

Most Popular Sports in South Korea:

  1. Baseball
  2. Soccer
  3. Taekwondo
  4. Golf
  5. Volleyball
  6. Basketball
  7. Table Tennis
  8. Badminton
  9. Archery
  10. Speed Skating
  11. Figure Skating

#1 Baseball

Baseball Softball
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: 1900s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from South Korea: Ryu Hyun-jin (South Korean)
  • Estimated Number of Players in South Korea: 150,000

Baseball holds a special place in South Korean culture, resonating with fans across the nation. The sport’s gripping excitement and deep-rooted history make it a favorite pastime.

The Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) stands as South Korea’s premier baseball league, witnessing intense competition among teams. Ryu Hyun-jin, a star pitcher currently playing in the MLB, is a prime example of South Korean baseball talent.

South Korea’s triumphant gold medal win during the 2008 Beijing Olympics showcased its baseball prowess on the international stage. This victory, among others, solidifies baseball’s beloved status in the country.

#2 Soccer

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: 1920s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from South Korea: Son Heung-min (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in South Korea: 1 Million

Soccer captivates South Korea with its adrenaline-filled matches and passionate fanbase. Gaining popularity from the grassroots level to the national team, soccer unites the nation.

The K League Classic, South Korea’s top professional soccer league, draws huge audiences and nurtures formidable talents. Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min, South Korea’s most celebrated player, has raised the nation’s profile in international soccer.

South Korea co-hosting the 2002 FIFA World Cup and reaching the semifinals remains a monumental moment in soccer history, igniting nationwide fervor and bolstering soccer’s prominence in the country.

#3 Taekwondo

  • πŸ“… Year of Invention: Ancient Korea (5th century AD)
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from South Korea: Kim Soo-hyun (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Practitioners in South Korea: 2 Million

Taekwondo, a South Korean national treasure, exemplifies centuries-old Korean martial arts traditions creatively adapted for modern practice.

While not a conventional sport, Taekwondo boasts innumerable practitioners and showcases compelling tournaments, such as the annual Korea Open. South Korean actor and martial artist Kim Soo-hyun, an accomplished Taekwondo master, exemplifies the skill and dedication required in this discipline.

Taekwondo’s inclusion as an official Olympic sport in 2000 further cemented its global presence, with South Korea taking home numerous medals and demonstrating its cultural significance.

#4 Golf

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: 1897
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from South Korea: Park Inbee (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in South Korea: 3 Million

Golf in South Korea has grown exponentially over recent decades, with an increasing number of premier courses and rising international golfing talent.

The LPGA of Korea Tour, showcasing the best in women’s professional golf, attracts wide-ranging viewership and praise. Park Inbee, a seven-time major champion, stands at the forefront of South Korea’s golf success and has inspired a new generation of golfers.

From hosting international tournaments to celebrating local golf heroes, South Korea’s love for the sport is clear and unwavering.

#5 Volleyball

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: 1920s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from South Korea: Kim Yeon-koung (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in South Korea: 1 Million

Volleyball holds a significant presence in South Korea, with dedicated fans and remarkable talents in both indoor and beach formats.

The V-League, consisting of both men’s and women’s professional volleyball leagues, displays exhilarating competition and stellar performances. National team standout Kim Yeon-koung, considered one of the best players globally, has taken South Korean volleyball to new heights.

Historic achievements, such as the women’s national team’s bronze medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics, have left a lasting impact on the sport’s popularity and enduring legacy in South Korea.

#6 Basketball

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: 1930s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from South Korea: Hur Jae (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in South Korea: 500,000

Basketball has entrenched itself in South Korea, merging homegrown talent and enthusiasm with global influences from the NBA.

The Korean Basketball League (KBL) serves as the nation’s top professional basketball league, with pulsating games and bustling arenas. Hur Jae, South Korea’s legendary player and Olympic medalist, has inspired and contributed to the sport’s growth in the country.

Vivid memories of the national team’s silver medal finish in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics firmly establish basketball’s importance in South Korea, driving further development and passion.

#7 Table Tennis

Table Tennis
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from South Korea: Ryu Seung-min (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in South Korea: 1 Million

Table tennis enjoys widespread popularity in South Korea. Its fast-paced gameplay, combined with technique and strategy, attracts players and spectators alike.

The Korean Table Tennis Association (KTTA) oversees numerous local and international tournaments, fostering sportsmanship and competitive spirit. Olympic gold medalist Ryu Seung-min, an icon in South Korea, has contributed immensely to the sport’s growth.

South Korea’s table tennis prowess is evident in international achievements, such as the joint-top finish at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, underlining the sport’s significance in the country.

#8 Badminton

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: 1950s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Player from South Korea: Lee Yong-dae (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Players in South Korea: 750,000

Badminton has flourished in South Korea, with its exciting rallies and swift gameplay creating a dynamic and captivating sports environment.

Organized by the Badminton Korea Association (BKA), the Korea Open is a premier tournament, pitting world-class athletes against South Korea’s finest players. Lee Yong-dae, a highly-decorated Olympic gold medalist, demonstrates South Korean badminton’s excellence.

From winning numerous championships, including the coveted Sudirman Cup, to nurturing budding talents, badminton’s footprint in South Korea’s sports landscape is wide-reaching and ever-growing.

#9 Archery

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: Ancient Korea
  • 🌟 Most Famous Archer from South Korea: Kim Woo-jin (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Archers in South Korea: 200,000

Archery in South Korea is deeply rooted in tradition, dating back to ancient times, and has now evolved into an international powerhouse in modern competitive archery.

Thanks to the exceptional training programs offered by the Korea Archery Association (KAA), South Korea dominates the sport, producing renowned archers like world-record holder Kim Woo-jin. Olympic and World Championship successes further boost the sport’s popularity.

From traditional cultural demonstrations to international arenas, the significance of archery in South Korea’s sports landscape is unparalleled, reflecting the nation’s dedication and skill in the sport.

#10 Speed Skating

Speed Skating
  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: 1930s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Skater from South Korea: Lee Sang-hwa (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Speed Skating Enthusiasts in South Korea: 50,000

Speed skating has grown to become one of South Korea’s top winter sports, showcasing amazing athleticism and thrilling competitions.

The country has consistently performed well on the international stage, with the renowned Lee Sang-hwa earning two Olympic gold medals in Speed Skating. South Koreans have a keen interest in watching both domestic and international competitions, including the Winter Olympics.

South Korea’s speed skating achievements have fostered national pride and inspired a new generation of skaters, securing its reputation as a strong force in the sport.

#11 Figure Skating

  • πŸ“… (Estimated) Year of Introduction in South Korea: 1940s
  • 🌟 Most Famous Figure Skater from South Korea: Yuna Kim (South Korean)
  • 🌍 Estimated Number of Figure Skating Enthusiasts in South Korea: 100,000

Figure skating is a mesmerizing spectacle of grace, poise, and athleticism in South Korea. The nation has embraced the sport and produced global stars like Yuna Kim, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist.

South Korean audiences eagerly follow both local competitions and international events, such as the Winter Olympics and Grand Prix Series. Yuna Kim’s victory at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics marked a defining moment in South Korean figure skating history, igniting widespread passion for the sport.

Thanks to continued success and captivating performances, figure skating maintains its strong presence in South Korea’s diverse sports culture.


What is the most popular sport in South Korea?

Baseball is the most popular sport in South Korea, deeply rooted in the nation’s culture, with a passionate fan base and strong professional league, the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO).

What is the national sport of South Korea?

While not officially designated, Taekwondo holds a significant cultural and traditional importance in South Korea, with a deep history and widespread practice across the nation.

What are the most watched sports in South Korea?

The most watched sports in South Korea include baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, and various Olympics events, such as speed skating and archery, showcasing the country’s diverse sports culture and devoted fan bases.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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