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The 2011 UEFA Champions League Final: A Family-(friendly) Affair?

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Editor’s note (which would be me): This editorial is not a reflection of Barca Blaugranes or its staff. It’s merely my personal view of things.

In 2011, major sports event are hard to come by. Yeah, there’s the annual NFL Superbowl or its equivalent in all other major sports leagues (MLB, NHL etc.) but while these events generate massive ratings in the U.S., they don’t really cater to a world-wide audience. But whereas our US counterparts are treated to a spectacle in every sense of the word, the Superbowl halftime show sure is something, European football fans are shortchanged.

I’m not sure how much Superbowl tickets cost but I assume the spectator gets a whole lot more bang for his/her buck. It’s two hours of non-stop entertainment, on and off the field. One could claim that American sports events are indeed family friendly. Which brings us to the UEFA and it’s horrible price policy. The cheapest tickets for the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final, between FC Barcelona and Manchester United, start at £80,00 roughly €92,00 ($130,00), for disabled citizens (wheelchair) and can balloon upwards of £300,00 or €346,00 ($488,00), not including the administration fee of £26,00 (€30,00) or ($42,00) for residents living inside the EU. Everyone who is not living inside the EU must pay an administration fee of £36,00 (€41,00) or ($58,00).

Let’s recapture that, football fans attending the match will not be treated to a spectacle that can rival major American sports events and probably pay as much or even more than their US counterparts. UEFA’s pre-show, if you can call it that, ranks among the most boring on primetime TV. A couple of hundred million views from all over the world tune in and all the UEFA can come up with is the live version of the official Champions League hymn. Why exactly do some 40.000-plus attendees have to pay a couple of hundred bucks to watch that???

C’mon bring out the heavy hitters, the Lady Gaga’s, the Beyonce’s…quite frankly anyone but Justin Bieber. Entertain us, not the other way around. A family of four would have to pay somewhere in the region of £500 - £700 to attend the match. If the family patriarch is not a descendant of the Rockefellers, chances are slim that the average family can ever attend this event.

What makes football special are its passionate fans. Some of the guys will travel all over the place to support their favorite team, and it’s those fans the UEFA screws over. All year long those loyal fans accommodate their schedule and bank account to attend the games. Now, all of a sudden they are forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch the penultimate game of the season. Even if it’s the UEFA Champions League final, £300 for a ticket is anything but family-friendly, especially if there’s no notable spectacle.

With all due respect to Andrea Bocelli, who performed in Rome, is not exactly the kind of artist we would like to see. Even if only 40.000 tickets were sold at an average price of £200 – that’s £8,000,000 easy. Both FC Barcelona and Manchester United have already earned multiple times that amount by qualifying for the Final, so where does the money go???

Which desk jockey decided to overcharge the audience??

The UEFA or whoever decided to move the event from Wednesday to Saturday gets a big plus and whoever sanctioned these horrible prices gets a big minus. So we are back at square one. Watching the final on Saturday sounds like a good idea, but if my favorite team loses my evening is ruined. Not to mention, there’s no worthwhile show accompanying the event. Besides, all commentators except those hailing from a Latin country are boring, that’s why Jose and I will cover the event on Blaugranes Radio ;)

Tune in on Saturday evening to hear yours truly polluting the airwaves, or rather, the internet!

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