Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 7 No. 106
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Pyeongchang Merchandise A Hit Thanks To Soohorang

Soohorang, the official mascot of the 2018 Winter Olympics, peers over the roof of the official super store in Gangneung Olympic Park.
Photo: Ben Fischer

The Pyeongchang 2018 merchandising operation is a massive hit.

With just three days remaining in the Winter Olympics, Pyeongchang 2018 officials say the two primary super stores in Gangneung Olympic Park and Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza are both averaging 15,000 to 20,000 visitors per day.

Put that into perspective: Even at the low end of that range, that works out to 30,000 shoppers per day, or 510,000 over the course of the 17-day Games — more than half the number of tickets sold to the actual sporting events (1 million).

While Pyeongchang organizers declined to share sales figures, the driving force behind the big numbers is by all accounts Soohorang, the cartoon white tiger mascot. He’s on sweatshirts, in plush toy form, the inspiration of a fleece shawl and on many other products inside the stores.

A line estimated at 90 minutes gathers outside of the store on the middle Saturday of the Games.
Photo: Ben Fischer

Over the middle weekend of the Games, which coincided with Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year holiday, some shoppers spent 90 minutes in line just to enter the store in Gangneung Olympic Park.

The stores double as a showcase for longtime IOC sponsor Visa, which operates the payment systems inside of the stores and promotes its new payment technologies inside.