Financial firms expanding Korean athletes sponsorships ahead of PyeongChang Olympics
South Korean financial firms are expanding sponsorship for athletes competing in the upcoming 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, industry sources said Wednesday, as they seek to improve their brand image while contributing to the better performance of the home team.
One of the major financial companies supporting athletes is KB Financial Group, which sponsored now-retired figure skating star Kim Yu-na since 2006.
Industry watchers have been citing KB Financial's sponsorship of Kim as one of best examples of a company and athlete mutually benefiting from the tie-up. Kim, an Olympic gold medalist, stands as the symbol of South Korean winter sports.
South Korean figure skater Choi Da-bin (Yonhap)
In line with efforts to search for another potential star, KB Financial has been providing sponsorship to athletes ahead of next year's sports extravaganza in the hopes of giving birth to another big-name.
One athlete currently being sponsored by KB Financial is Choi Da-bin, a figure skater who is widely known as an athlete who could take up Kim's mantle.
A handful of other younger prominent figure skaters, such as Lim Eun-soo, Kim Ye-lim and You Young, are also being supported by KB Financial.
Besides figure skaters the financial group provides assistance for athletes in short-track speed skating, bobsleigh and skeleton.
Skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin is South Korea's only medal hope in men's skeleton at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Shim Suk-hee and Choi Min-jeong, prominent speed skaters, are also widely expected to post top performances in PyeongChang under KB's sponsorship.
Skeleton slider Yun Sung-bin (Yonhap)
KB Financial is also a major sponsor for South Korea's ice hockey and curling teams.
Besides KB, Shinhan Financial Group, is sponsoring South Koreans in six different areas, including alpine skiing and ski jumping, which are popular although the country's athletes have generally not done well in the premier winter games.
KEB Hana Bank, meanwhile, provides various financial services for the game's organizing committee, and will install ATMs throughout the venues for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. (Yonhap)