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Winners, Losers from El Clasico Miami
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Ronaldo fans justifiably felt duped after seeing his face on promotional material for months, and hearing organizers say they were “hopeful” he’d show up, only to learn on the eve of the match that he officially declined the invitation.
But judging by the electric mood of the 66,014 fans at the stadium Saturday, the fun seemed to outweigh the Ronaldo drama and inflated prices, which organizers explained were the result of having to pay huge appearance fees to both teams. And by huge, we mean well into seven figures per team.
Looking back on the week, here are some winners and losers…
Winner: Paris Saint-Germain. Although the French club lost 3-2 to Juventus on a last-minute penalty kick on Wednesday in the less-hyped of the week’s two matches, it won over new fans by going out of its way to make players accessible. PSG, which was based in Miami for nine days, held two free open practices, opened a pop-up store/hospitality space in Wynwood, had players available for autographs at the Nike store on Lincoln Rd., at various youth soccer events, and invited fans to the team hotel for a two-hour meet-and-greet with four of the team’s biggest stars. The team was equally accommodating with the media.
Loser: Every fan who was priced out of El Clasico tickets. Rising ticket prices is a major problem in professional sports, but usually, there are some cheap seats available. Not with this event. Tickets started at over $200, which automatically turned away a large segment of South Florida’s most soccer-passionate population. Sure, the $20 tickets for Friday night practice were a nice consolation, and 35,700 fans took advantage of that. But it would have been even nicer to have reserved some segment of the stadium for fans who required lower-end prices.