Only a month ago, BTS were officially appointed as the ambassadors of the 2030 Busan World Expo. It was then announced that the group is slated to hold a free concert in Busan to push for the city’s bid as the host for the World Expo. But since then, there have been multiple unfavorable developments, the recent one being the city of Busan’s refusal to pay for the concert.
In early August, some media houses announced that HYBE Labels had agreed to hold the concert for free, despite there being no official clarification from the company. A few days later, HYBE released a statement confirming that it would be a free concert indeed. Many fans saw it as a red flag since it appeared that Hybe was almost pressurized into agreeing to this.
This is exactly what the gov wants. How much do u wanna bet these articles are meant to pressure hybe & bts. Article mentions free concert, everyone gets excited, asks why not a free concert, puts hybe in a bad spot, government potentially doesn’t have to pay & gets away with it
— CiCi⁷ in the Box (@mygirlyoonji) August 6, 2022
The next controversy was the venue. The Busan Metropolitan Government announced that the concert will be held at the Busan Port International Passenger Terminal Outdoor Parking Lot. The venue was deemed highly impractical by the public since it didn’t have the required infrastructure to handle a footfall of 100,000 people. Additionally, it was speculated that this decision was influenced by the Mayor of Busan, Park Hyung Jun, who owns land in the area and stood to benefit from such a huge surge of traffic there. Eventually, the concert location got changed to the Busan Asiad Main Stadium.
BTS BUSAN CONCERT LOCATION WILL CHANGE TO "BUSAN ASIAD MAIN STADIUM🏟️
Busan Asiad Main Stadium has a capacity of 53,769 people, 72 exits around the stadium and can handle 100,000 people to the venue
— I'm Cookyy (@BTS_kooklive) September 3, 2022
Now, on September 7, KST, new reports revealed that the Busan Metropolitan Government has stated that neither the city nor the Expo committee has the funds to cover the concert. They insisted that HYBE should cover the cost by hiring sponsors instead. According to industry experts, a concert of this scale might cost somewhere around ₩7.00 billion KRW (about $5.10 million USD).
Busan Metropolitan Government state neither Busan city nor the Expo committee is paying for the concert. They insist Hybe should pay by recruiting sponsors and pass on all financial burdens to Hybe. Hybe is trying to cover its advertising costs, however companies are reluctant. pic.twitter.com/YuLqexR1nX
— Artistae (@Artistae1230) September 7, 2022
Fans were already concerned about the ongoing issues regarding the concert, and now many are angered by what appears to be a constant effort on the government’s side to milk out BTS’s impact for their own agenda.
Think of the concert like a baby right. A baby that busan begged for. HYBE has been doing all this work baby proofing and Busan hasn’t really done anything. HYBE is like “damn can you pay for something at least?” And Busan said, “it’s your baby.”
— AJ✜⁷ Sexy Nukim (@yoongissparkles) September 7, 2022
So far, HYBE has revealed that they intend to invite other companies to participate as official event sponsors, but they have yet to reveal any names. Major South Korean conglomerates like Samsung, LG, Lotte, and SK have stated that they have not received any invitation for sponsorship, and they are not inclined to cover such costs either.