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The challenge of fans and brands in the Libertadores

Valerija Brojila
October 28, 2022 – 15:57 hours

Promotions promote connection between brands and fans in the Conmebol Libertadores final (Credit: Disclosure / Facebook Conmebol)

After the poor attendance of the final of the Copa Sudamericana, played in Córdoba, Argentina on the 1st of this month, between São Paulo and Independiente del Valle, which gathered less than 25,000 fans, according to ESPN, the scenario seems to be repeating itself. Until the eve of the final between Athletico Paranaense and Flamengo, which will be played this Saturday, the 29th, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, slightly more than 11,000 tickets for fans of the Brazilian clubs have been sold.

Logistical difficulties for air travel in South America and the price of tickets in an economic context still affected by the Covid-19 pandemic are factors influencing the lower-than-expected sales for the final of the continental tournament. The value of tickets sold by Conmebol for this edition varies from US$142 (R$743.30) to US$245 (R$1282.45). Last year, the price of a ticket for a match between Palmeiras and Flamengo, played in Montevideo, ranged from 200 US dollars (about 1,100 real dollars, according to the exchange rate at the time) to 650 US dollars (about 3,600 real dollars). In comparison, tickets for the decisive match of the UEFA Champions League between Liverpool and Real Madrid, held in Paris in May of this year, cost between 70 and 690 euros (equivalent to R$ 350 and 3,400 according to the price at the time).

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boarding problems

The limited supply of flights from Brazil to Ecuador is causing problems for Brazilian fans. Rio de Janeiro fans who bought packages from Outsider Tours, the club’s partner company that was in charge of transport to Ecuador, have reported problems with flight cancellations since last Wednesday, the 26th.

The company’s idea was to carry out this transport with chartered flights with foreign airlines, however, the National Agency for Civil Aviation (Anac) rejected the request, which caused moments of confusion and protests at Galeão Airport in Rio de Janeiro.

In a statement, the company said all passengers will board and watch the match in Ecuador. Flamengo, on the other hand, is studying the termination of the contract with Outsider Tours, which was signed this week, according to the GE website. This week, the company also became an official sponsor of the club.

Libertadores fan zone

In this context, brands face the challenge of connecting with the public that will follow the decision at the Estadio Monumental Isidro Romero Carbo, known as Banco Pichincha, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

To this end, from Wednesday the 26th, CONMEBOL started work on the Embajada del Hinch (Embassy of the Fans). The space is a kind of fanzone in Palácio de Cristal, in Guayaquil. There, fans can visit the Eternal Fame Museum and participate in activities with DJs, concerts, food trucks, games, among other activities.

Gatorade, for example, is in the Fan Embassy for an activation that emphasizes the importance of hydration. Before the final, the brand is on site with influencers to conduct functional training and a friendly meeting. The action is part of the activation of the “Liberta, #SuaQueDá” campaign.

Grades in the final

Mastercard, the competition’s partner company, joined Conmebol to promote inclusive experiences during the finals. With disabled fans in mind, the brand wants everyone to celebrate the passion for their club in their hearts. The company’s initiatives begin with the creation of the interactive museum La Gloria Eterna. The space will have an exhibition with works celebrating the achievements of the two protagonist teams of this final.

Each of these works will be adapted so that people with motor, visual or hearing impairments can relate to the titles, promoting a multisensory strategy.

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In addition, for the first time, the stadium will have boxes for people with sensory hypersensitivity, such as those diagnosed with autism. In this case, the premises will have a reduction in sensory stimuli to make the match more pleasant and safer for the fans.

Ford and Bridgestone, through a partnership with VMLY&R Commerce, will be on the outskirts of the stadium, in the Embajada Del Hinch, and in the VIP zone. The car company has taken a wrapped Ford Ranger model that will receive art by a local graffiti artist that will tell a love story involving football.

In hospitality, in turn, Ford will have interactivity and technology, through an initiative that allows fans to declare themselves to their team, with a message. The action has a 360º camera to capture the story of the phrase.

Meanwhile, Bridgestone created the Turanza Challenge. In this campaign, fans at Embajada Del Hinch will have the opportunity to reproduce the symbolic goals of their teams and share them on their networks. In addition, in the VIP area, the brand is inspired by the Cup album and turns the team’s fans into self-adhesive figurines. Stickers can be taken home.

travel experiences

Absolut Sport, the official agency of the Conmebol Libertadores, will promote the experience that starts with travel packages and tickets. The company sold 1,800 tickets. The price of the package is USD 3,395 (plus R$ 18,000). All fans have already boarded and should arrive in Ecuador this Friday afternoon, according to the agency.

The agreed packages entitle you to flight, accommodation, transfers with exclusive access to Conmebol partners and tickets to different parts of the stadium. In addition, the presence of idols of the club, such as Petković, Joel Santana and Athirson, was confirmed on the trip.

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This is the second initiative the agency has developed for Conmebol. The company has already promoted that experience to São Paulo fans, in the Sulamericana final. For the co-founder of Absolut Sport in Brazil, Harry Collecta, it was a logistical challenge to hold this event in Guayaquil.

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