Argentina face Portugal in an international friendly next Tuesday at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, UK. Apparently just 15,000 tickets have been sold so far. The capacity of the stadium is over 75,000 so those spectators will have plenty of room to stretch their legs.
The perplexed organiser of the fixture, Leo Morales, said: “I don’t know why we haven’t had more sales.” The cheapest adult ticket is £40. So there’s one reason straight away Leo. It’s exactly six weeks until Christmas (yes, that shocked me too when I just looked it up) and most people probably have better things to spend £40 on right now.
The game is likely to be played on a cold, wet Tuesday night in November. I make that prediction with some confidence having lived in Manchester for a year. Most Tuesday nights after August are cold and wet. So there’s another potential reason.
Also, I’m assuming it might already have been pointed out to Leo that Manchester is not in fact in either Argentina or Portugal. Manchester is 6,950 miles from Buenos Aires and 1,073 miles from Lisbon. Manchester is a great city but when I lived there I don’t recall seeing huge communities of either Argentinians or Portuguese. Why on earth is this match not being played in Portugal?
Manchester United’s website refers to the game as a ‘glamour clash, produced by Torneos y Competencias and World Eleven.’ I had naively thought it would have been produced by the Argentinian FA and the Portuguese FA.
World Eleven’s website boasts that their ‘experience in efficiently managing international teams’ has allowed them to ‘obtain the exclusive rights to organize the Argentine national team’s friendly games.’ So what does Argentina’s FA do exactly?
The marketing and commercial expertise of World Eleven can be judged by the fact that 15,000 tickets have been sold (so far) for this game and the organiser remains confused as to why.
More and more of these ‘glamour’ friendlies are popping up and many get staged in the UK. British fans are obviously seen as among the most willing to pay for this type of fare but they already enjoy a diet of quite glamorous fixtures on a regular basis. Glamour friendlies are a bit like fast food; they are tempting but you tend to end up with a slightly dissatisfied feeling afterwards.
Argentina v Portugal is being billed as Messi v Ronaldo but it’s less than a month since we all tuned in for El Classico. That was a game that really mattered and it was brilliant to watch. I’ll be surprised if either plays more than a half next week and they will be conserving themselves for more meaningful tests ahead.
Messi and Ronaldo are undoubtedly the best two players in the world right now. If they can’t sell a glamour friendly these days then who can? Good luck Leo Morales.