The Clásico del fútbol español, one of the most publicized sports events in recent years, faces off two European giants: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, in a true duel of titans which will test the feats of the star players of each team, for fans and millions of spectators around the world. A unique match, now part of a long tradition, whose impact is noticeable in both tourism and hotel industry, amongst others which thrive during this period.
The figures speak for themselves – Around 700 journalists from 200 different medias will be attend the event; 33 commentators from around the globe will lend their voices, and close to 500 million spectators will follow the match live, making this 90 minute showdown one of the most intense within the sporting world at an international level.
For over a century, Real Madrid and Barcelona have faced off no fewer than 228 times, with a winning record of 91 victories and 89 respectively, making this match understandable more than intense. It seems so long ago since these teams first played against each other that memorable 13th of May.
100 Years of History, 100 Years of The Clásico
It would be in 1902, when the Hipódromo de la Castellana would instigate the first Clásico in history when both teams were still taking their first steps. FC Barcelona lead by Walter Wild during its first years, were still learning the foundations of the sport; Julián Palacios, recognized as the first president of Real Madrid had just founded the team that same year.
Against all odds, history speaks of the moment being an ” arduous ” fight where ” the cheers of the crowd were repeated an infinite amount of times ” , testimonies that gave a very positive impression on the sport, not only from practitioners but also from a sociocultural level. Not bad considering this sport was still thought of as ” A game imported from a foreign country ” .
From this first confrontation, many were to follow intensifying the rivalry between the teams, also improving the quality of both the game and players whilst simultaneous engrossing fans at the same time. In this sense, the season between 1942-1943 marks a significant before and after with the infamous’ Chamartín scandal’ playing a star role within the media.
From here onwards, Madrid led by Di Steffano and Barça led by Cruyff would set the rhythm with thrilling matches full of emotion, respect and sportsmanship, even though tensions have occasionally overshadowed the beauty of the Clásico. Finally, the Era Galáctica would mark a wave of wins for Real Madrid at the start of our century.
Currently, the showdowns are now more balanced than ever, and few encounters are able to put so many stars on the same playing field. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the great pillars within Real Madrid and FC Barcelona respectively, and defend at all costs the titles of Leagues, Cups and Champions, captivating fans of all ages.
A Great Tourist Attraction
With more than 60 million tourists a year, Spain has been named the 3rd most desirable tourist destination in Europe, coinciding with the glorious popularity of this sport. Within football we can also find breaking figures, depicting a profit of 8 billion euros annually and providing jobs for over 70,000 people.
As always the case, the Clásico alone makes amazing figures being reported that up to 7 million euros have been made from tickets and 176 million euros from publicity and merchandising.
Another aspect is the hotel industry, it too has benefited greatly from the Madrid-Barça showdowns, being notable not only in the capitals of Spain and Cataluña, but also within many of the municipals of Spanish territories such as Bilbao, Sevilla and Alicante. The strengthening of this sport has also been crucial to its success, to which we have to thank the efforts of the small institutions such as juvenile tournaments or football summer camps which in turn help discover the new stars of this sport.
At these heights, it is safe to say that the Clásico is much more than a sporting event – promoting not only tourism but also confirming the skills of the sportsmen that compete in the event, a date which should definately be marked on your calender.