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Groundhopper's guide to..... Seoul World Cup Stadium

Seoul's World Cup Stadium is a 66,000-seater arena located in the Mapo-gu area of the capital, just north of the Han River. Construction was completed in November 2001, in time for the 2002 World Cup. That summer, Seoul staged three games including the tournament's opener, when Senegal shocked holders France. FC Seoul have called it home since moving from Anyang in 2004.
Also known as Sangam Stadium, it is, by far, the biggest ground in K League 1 this season. The stadium is also the primary venue for the Korean national football team. The interior is predominantly a neutral, gray color, but three large FC Seoul banners hang above the East Stand, whilst the roof is illuminated in the home team's colors throughout a game. For 2023, signage celebrating the 40th anniversary of the club can be seen below the Sky Boxes.


Location:

Sangam is, arguably, the best located of the country's 10 World Cup Stadiums. Even though it is 10 kms from City Hall, the stadium has a downtown feel with numerous transport and entertainment options close by. For fans coming from outside Seoul, it is close to a new bridge by the same name crossing the Han River, and it is just off a highway that travels west towards the big population canters of Ilsan and Paju.

But like many of the World Cup stadiums in Korea, this one comes with a huge supermarket built beneath one of the stands, with cinemas, a wedding hall, restaurants and other facilities. There is a World Cup Museum on the SW corner.

If you're hoping to visit this stadium for the first time, here are some of the essential details.

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Transport Options:

- subway: The brown Line 6 has a stop right outside the stadium and it is within walking distance of Digital Media City, a transfer station for the Airport Express and the Gyeong-Ui Jungang Line.
- bus: There are no shortage of options with local, city (including 571 and 710) and intercity buses (9711) running both sides of the river, through the city or out to the suburbs. Most stop at the south end of the stadium.
- parking: Helped by the presence of Homeplus shopping centre, there are numerous parking spaces behind the two main stands. There are further parking possibilities in World Cup Park, across the street from the south stand.
- bikes: The city has a good bike scheme with collection points at, or near, the stadium and there are bike racks to lock your own bike to.

Tickets:

- Online: If you can navigate the sometimes awkward Korean ticket sites, FC Seoul sell theirs on the Ticketlink app. There is a ₩1,000 service fee for using the app, but the stadium map is helpful to find the ticket that best suits your price range. However, given the matches are never likely to sell out, you're better off just buying from the stadium.
- Ticket booth: There are ticket booths located around the ground, at the top of the giant staircases where the entrances are. Ticket booths usually have long lines but there's always a big map with a price list.

The ticket booths with a map and prices. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Where to sit:

The more vocal home fans and supporters groups sit in the North Stand, behind the goals. This isn't a safe-standing section but most of the fans will stand nonetheless. Here you'll also find the banners and flags, drums and the origin of the team's chanting on the day. The atmosphere is friendly, with fans young and old, men and women, watching the game.
Tickets for this section cost ₩14,000.

Away fans are behind the opposite goal, on the south side of the stadium. There's normally several empty blocks separating both sets of supporters, however there is very little police or security personnel at the stadium. Tickets are also priced at ₩14,000.

The away fans congregate behind the South stand before the season opener between FC Seoul and Incheon United. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)
The lower East and West (the tunnel and dugouts are on this side) stands are busy on match-day, and, as such, more expensive. The upper tiers are open but sparely populated, and they offer an amazing view of the pitch. Tickets range from ₩14,000 to ₩20,000.

Another great feature of this stadium are the two Sky Pubs located in the corners. This season, you can enjoy unlimited Asahi beer and popcorn, plus a match ticket, for as little as ₩35,000. Naturally, these seats book up fast. The FC Seoul website has plenty of information in English on how and where to buy tickets.

As this is a World Cup stadium, which hosted the opening game and a semi-final, there's little doubt that the venue is top class.


Food:

Inside the stadium, there are GS25 shops/convenience stores but they mostly serve snacks. Outside the ground, on the north end, there are about a dozen food trucks selling a wide range of food from chicken skewers to bowls of rice with mixed vegetables. There are tables nearby but arrive early, as the lines are long and the seats taken hours before kick-off.

Fans line up for pre-mtach food behind the North Stand. Arrive early if you want a table and seats. (Image: instagram.com/groundhopping_korea)

Drink:

Bags are checked entering the stadium and posters outside warn fans against bringing alcohol into the ground. However, the GS25 stores above sell beer in cans and they can be brought to your seat, for less than ₩3000. Coffee, water and soft drinks are also available. 

Merchandise:

Up the escalators from exit 2 of World Cup Stadium subway station, you'll find the Fan Park, featuring a packed GS25, a packed café and the FC Seoul club shop, which is also packed. Pre-match atmosphere is good here, however, as it acts as a natural meeting point for fans.


Post game:

Three stops down Line 6 towards central Seoul, there is a busy Line 2 and 6 transfer station called Hapjeong. Between here and the neighboring Honggik University area, you'll find a vast arrays of cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels. For many people, this is the entertainment hub of the capital and a great place to hang out after a game.

Finally, if you are planning to visit this stadium, or any others in Korea, and haven't already done so, please download the Futbology app. It is a great way to find information of stadiums and keep track of all the teams and grounds you have visited.

FNR

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