El Clasico or the Classic is the biggest draw in Spanish football (soccer). La Liga’s headlining act comes round this Saturday, with little to choose between the two competing sides, Real Madrid and Barcelona. The fact that the first Clasico of the 2015/16 season is a sell-out is of little surprise, and the United States, too, has got in on the act which could see the game at the Santiago Bernabeu the most internationally attended Clasico yet.
According to recent statistics from international secondary ticketing platform, Ticketbis, Saturday’s game is the first time the US has been the largest purchaser for any European soccer match, outside of the host country. While tickets have been purchased in more than 35 countries, the US leads the way with ticket sales in the country going up 150 percent from the corresponding Clasico last season.
It is no secret European soccer’s popularity is on the rise in the US, with pre-season games in the country during the summer months involving fabled clubs from major European soccer nations proving to be huge attractions. And the revelation from the Clasico data is another reason to believe the beautiful game has turned an important corner stateside.
“At the moment we’re registering requests from fans all over the planet. Currently US, British and South Korean buyers have registered among the most numerous, in terms of international sales. The US site specifically saw a jump in sales of nearly 150% compared to El Clasico that was played around the same time last year,” said Ticketbis CEO Ander Michelena on the rising interest levels across the world in the Clasico.
And Michelena’s claims are proved by some more data from Ticketbis. Following are the transaction numbers from the different country-specific Ticketbis websites.
Insights from the above data show that aside from host country Spain, the US has been the country leading the way in ticket sales, accounting for 9.3 percent of the total sales via Ticketbis. There are British and South Korean buyers aplenty, as well as buyers from Mexico and France. The Clasico has also attracted audience from far off places like Australia and Singapore, testament to its extended influence across the globe.
The numbers are adverts for the growth of soccer in the United States, and fans of either the clubs or the occasion haven’t been shy about splashing the money on tickets. The most expensive ticket sold in the US cost a whopping $1,491.80 (1,390.57 euros), which, if put into perspective, is almost half that of the most expensive ticket for the game bought from Denmark for a cool $2,894.09 (2,697.70 euros).
There is little doubt the Clasico is arguably the greatest derby in world soccer, featuring global superstars and the two best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The international audience for the game has expectedly been on the rise over the years, and Saturday’s game has already seen 75.6 percent international ticket sales, up from 74.7 percent when the two sides last met in March earlier this year.
The Bernabeu will be a melting pot of different cultures come Saturday, and a sizeable proportion of Americans will be cheering from the stands. The magnitude of the Clasico has grown by the year, with demands for tickets clearly proving how popular a fixture on the calendar it is. That the average ticket price is 659 euros tells a thing about how the Clasico has become the money making machine for both Real Madrid and Barcelona.
While the average ticket price for the Clasico in Madrid is 648.24 euros, a ticket for the Clasico in Barcelona costs 879.45 euros on average. Those are numbers which suggest why the Clasico is one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar, from a sporting perspective as well as a commercial perspective.
And the increasing number of American fans getting involved in the occasion symbolises the changing times in the US. Soccer is attracting more and more attention from the masses, which could only be a good thing. The rise in popularity, and the increasing number of US fans attending the Clasico is proof enough of the growing soccer culture in the country.
Data courtesy of Emerging Insider
Infographics created in Canva
Featured image source: Sportskeeda