The ‘Idol Star Athletics Championships’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘ISAC’), which was decorated as a special program for every holiday, will not be aired this year during Chuseok.
The void left by ‘ISAC’ is filled by existing MBC variety shows such as ‘Point of Omniscient Interference’ and ‘I Live Alone’.
There was a time when ‘ISAC’ was given priority in MBC’s holiday lineup. However, this year, ‘ISAC’ cannot be found during Seollal and Chuseok. Last year’s Chuseok was its last broadcast. The ‘ISAC’ that returned after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic quietly left without addressing the previous criticisms.
‘ISAC’ had a significant meaning as the “recruitment gate” for discovering distinctive rookies since its first broadcast in 2010. The sight of young people running on the field, shooting arrows, and enjoying games was not only attractive to fans but also to the older generation. It was an opportunity for the participating idols to build a healthy image as “athletic idols” for various generations, and thus, the era of ‘ISAC’ began. It attracted a large audience, recording the highest viewership rating of 18.7%. However, the strike at MBC put a brake on the heyday of ‘ISAC’.
In fact, the decline of ‘ISAC’ is a natural course of events. As a gathering place for hundreds of idols and their large fandoms, safety issues were consistently raised. Before addressing negative public opinion, issues of abuse surfaced. There were criticisms that the broadcasting company forced agencies to mobilize artists and imposed strict on-site management. Unreasonable practices, such as agencies delegating banner production costs to fandoms, continued.
Eventually, the fandom turned away. It was because the efforts and dedication to cheer for stars were not respected as acts of love for the stars. In addition, the fan culture within fandoms has changed compared to the past. Previously, seeing the off-stage appearances of idols, especially in variety programs, was possible. However, recent agencies and specific production companies have activated idols’ “self-content” (self-produced content), allowing fans to see enough aspects of their daily lives without ‘ISAC’.
As many idols such as Seventeen, MONSTA X, and Stray Kids showcase various sides of themselves in their self-content, fans no longer wait for the revival of ‘ISAC.’
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