Korean Immigrants Embrace Pittsburgh Football

January 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Pittsburgh is a city with a long history of immigrants. Greek, Italian, Polish and Slovenians were drawn more than a century ago to the steel mills and mines. Today, Pittsburgh has a much different feel, but the city still attracts immigrants including many from Asia, and with an unusual connection to American football. A stroll down Pittsburgh’s Strip District reveals 2 basic staples of life in the so-called Steel City – ethnic foods and Pittsburgh Steelers merchandise. The black and gold colors of the popular NFL team are seen in every part of town. Ross and Marie Lee are two South Korean immigrants who proudly wear the Steelers colors. “We came from [Seoul] Korea. I came in 1980. He came in 1988,” she said. “We did not know anything about the Steelers. Over the years we could see what is going on here and what kind of things [the] people wanted. So we ended up with a Steelers store,” she said. The Steelers merchandise store they opened in the Strip District is one of the most recognizable and busiest – thanks to the Steelers’ continued success. “We have been here over 10 years. This is our third Super Bowl season already. We are kind of lucky,” she said. Medicine, financial services and high tech companies have shaped modern Pittsburgh. Immigrants are now likely to come from places such as India, South Korea and China. But the Steelers remain a big part of the Pittsburgh community. Pittsburgh has more Super Bowl wins than any other team and is seeking an unprecedented 7th title. Marie Lee says their client base includes Pittsburgh fans around the world. “We have a huge Steelers fan [base] all over the country, even over the seas. Some of them even come from Italy and Germany to watch the games,” she said. (VOA)

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