Major-league sports and K-pop got a rare crossover moment this past week in a collaboration that’s proven itself to be an unexpected but undoubtedly smart and savvy partnership.
On October 26, P1Harmony performed at the Major League Soccer match between Los Angeles FC and the Seattle Sounders as part of Korean Culture Night at the Banc of California Stadium in LA. Ahead of the match, the rising K-pop boy band performed a one-hour show outside the stadium for a reported 8,000 fans who gathered hours ahead of time to see the sextet live. Despite just two album releases under their belt, P1Harmony filled the set with their singles like “Siren” and “Scared,” as well as moments to talk and interact with the crowd, while getting their first real chance to perform for and interact with their fans in the area.
When it came to game time between LAFC and the Sounders, P1H gained additional important moments of visibility with group leader Keeho singing the Korean national anthem (which was included in ESPN’s live stream broadcast) and their earlier performance of their latest, empowering single “Scared” was broadcasted during halftime on the jumbo screen (displaying to the entire 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium).
Footage from P1Harmony’s pre-game concert shows a massively excited and engaged crowd that certainly created good energy ahead of the soccer game where, likely, many of the band’s fans would then come to check out the game or at least the group’s national anthem performance. While soccer has yet to entertain audiences as baseball, basketball and football games do, the MLS connecting with a famously passionate fanbase in K-pop can create opportunities to hook new fans with collaborations like this with P1Harmony. With the help of the MLS opportunity, P1H held what became a massive free concert able to safely accommodate more fans than most venues, and garnered unique media interest and coverage that goes beyond traditional news stories one sees for pop groups.
LAFC and P1H coming together highlight the synergy that can be created in partnership between sports and K-pop, especially in those trying to gain their foothold in the market. The fact that soccer is continuing to gain traction in America while P1Harmony is a new group on the K-pop scene looking to distinguish themselves from their peers makes the collaboration all the more smarter and savvier and should indicate bigger things coming for both.
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