Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin has been credited with giving sales of baseball merchandise in Korea a lift.
“Sales of items related to the sport were fairly flat. But as Ryu has continued to put in solid performances, they have been picking up since May,” said one industry insider who deals with domestic distribution.
According to large discount store E-Mart, sales of baseball products climbed 6.7 percent in May from one year earlier, but were up a staggering 198 percent from April. In contrast, on-year sales in April slumped 12.5 percent.
May saw a rapid turnaround, however, with sales of replica Wilson gloves, akin to those used by Ryu, soaring 194.1 percent on-month.
“As Ryu has been doing brilliantly in the MLB, baseball goods are getting more popular among teenagers as well as customers in their 20s and 30s. This seems to be due to the reviving popularity of baseball in Korea,” said Ji Heon-seok at E-Mart.