Is Busan ready to host such a large-scale event?’
Ever since BTS agreed to hold a concert in Busan in order to push the city’s bid for hosting World Expo 2030, one after another obstacle has come up in the way. From rumors of the city pressuring HYBE to bear the cost of the concert to scandals regarding the initial venue, Busan city’s competence has come under scrutiny multiple times in the past two months.
A new report by Korean media has revealed that the Busan Asiad Main Stadium currently is not in a state to hold a reputable event like BTS’s upcoming concert. The semi-dome-shaped structure originally had 96 roof panels, out of which 29 are damaged right now. This stadium was built for the 2002 World Cup and cost around ₩220 billion KRW (about $158 million USD). In 2003, 8 of its roof panels got damaged, followed by 6 more the following year. In 2020, 9 panels were ripped off entirely during Typhoon Mayasak.
To fix the current damage, it would cost around ₩330 million KRW (about $236,000 USD) per panel. Although a total budget of ₩3.50 billion KRW (about $2.51 million USD) has already been sanctioned, the repair work has not been completed yet, since these panels have to be manufactured in Germany. It is being reported that the repair work would not be completed until June next year.
This issue has again brought forth the question of whether Busan can really show itself capable enough of hosting the World Expo in 2030. With an expected footfall of 100,000 people for the in-person concert, with multiple LIVE Plays and online streaming in the queue as well, the world will be witnessing the Busan Asiad Stadium with holes in its roof. Apparently, suggestions for covering up the gaps with large posters of BTS members or Expo-related banners have been dismissed due to the long time it will take to produce them and the safety risk involved.
Apart from the stadium’s infrastructure, another issue has also come to light recently. According to a different report, the city of Busan apparently sent sponsorship request emails to some of South Korea’s top corporations, attaching HYBE’s contact, suggesting that HYBE sent in the request. But upon contacting HYBE, the company replied by saying they weren’t even aware of such an email.
With the constant confusion, mismanagement, and lack of infrastructural considerations unfolding around the upcoming BTS concert, on the one hand, fans are worried about the safety of the artists and on the other, the public is fast losing faith in Busan’s competence.