The New York Times laid some of the blame for poor attendance at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on President Trump’s “fire and fury” remarks in response to repeated missile launches by North Korea.
Heightened political tension between North Korea and the United States in the buildup to the Games did not help sales. Less than six months before the Games opened, Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea in response to a spate of missile tests by the North. The heavily armed border separating the Koreas is about 40 miles from the Olympic Park.
What the Times failed to note was that the tensions between North and South Korea have eased tremendously as evidenced by the North Korean propaganda delegation that went to Pyeonchang and the invitation to South Korean President Moon to visit Pyongyang for a summit. Add in the high probability that most Olympics fans are probably unaware of Trump’s remarks or even know who Kim Jong Un is makes the Times’ attempt to blame Trump for the poor attendance even more ludicrous.
The Times did admit that the lack of a strong alpine sports tradition in South Korea may also be a factor and noted that poor ticket sales are nothing new to the Olympics at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics had plenty of empty seats during many of their events.