articleK-Drama

Sports-themed K-dramas: Do they always earn high ratings like “Twenty Five, Twenty One”? 

K-dramas with athletic main characters often draw keen attention, but those with high ratings are not that many. 

Having the same exciting sports theme, but the following 7 Korean dramas record different performances when it comes to ratings. Some achieve great success, while some are flops. 

To The Beautiful You (2012) – High jumping

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With the highest rating of only 6.4%, To The Beautiful You became popular thanks to its famous visual cast led by idol-turned actors SHINee’s Minho and Sulli. A cute love story set at school intertwined with a fun sports setting with Minho’s character being a high jumper, make To The Beautiful You enjoyable. 

to-the-beautiful

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo (2016) – Weightlifting and swimming

Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo only recorded the highest rating of 5.5%. Despite failing to become a hit domestically, the drama is definitely a fan favorite among international audiences when it comes to sports-themed shows. The story of Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo is inspired by real-life athletes, making it even more realistic. The drama is a perfect balance of sports, dreams, friendship, and romance. 

Run On (2020) – Track running 

run-on

Run On starring Im Si Wan and Shin Se Kyung is also a must-watch for both sports drama enthusiasts and general viewers. Despite having good reviews for being a comforting and delightful drama to watch, Run On’s highest ratings were only 3.772%.  

run-on

Hot Stove League (2019) – Baseball

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Starting with a humble rating of only 3.3%, Hot Stove League later became a hit and achieved its highest rating of 19.1% in the finale. Beside great acting and a compelling story, the drama’s success is also thanks to the fact that it is about baseball, one of the most popular sports in Korea. Hot Stove League also won over critics with two “Best Drama” awards at the Grimae Awards and the Baeksang Arts Awards. Namgoong Min, also won the first Daesang in his career thanks to his role in Hot Stove League at the SBS Drama Awards.

hot-stove-league

Twenty Five Twenty One (2022) – Fencing

Twenty Five Twenty One

Twenty Five Twenty One is only second to Hot Stove League on this list in terms of domestic ratings. The drama recorded its highest rating of 11.513%. However, Twenty Five Twenty One gained the most explosive success internationally. Aside from heartfelt stories about youth, friendship, and love, the drama does a great job exploring the fencing theme. 

Twenty Five Twenty One

Racket Boys (2021) – Badminton

With the highest rating of 6.2%, Racket Boys is not considered a huge success, but it is certainly one of the most well-written sports dramas that is worth the watch. The story is both fun, inspirational, and touching. 

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Love All Play (2022) – Badminton

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love-all-play

Love All Play is sadly the sports drama on this list with the worst performance ratings wise. The series has currently finished airing 6 episodes and the ratings are yet to exceed 2%. However, the sports romance of Love All Play has gained plenty of good reviews, so if you don’t care about domestic ratings, make sure to give it a watch.

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