Football and Olympics is a mix that doesn’t always work well, much less in settings like Montjuïc. That arrow that lit the fire of Barcelona-92 has passed by when it has tried to activate the cauldron of passions of Barca. The season ticket campaign for next season, when the Barca team will have to play their matches in the mountains due to the Camp Nou works, has not penetrated the sentiment cule: only 16,864 members have signed up, a much lower figure than expected by the board, which stood at 27,000 places, half the capacity: 49,472.
He exile to the Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium has never convinced the Barca social mass, accustomed to the familiarity of the Camp Nou. The contrast with Montjuïc is surprising if one takes into account that the total number of members is 143,086 and the seats reserved for season ticket holders at the Barca stadium amount to 83,500 while those put up for sale are 10,500. In the last survey carried out among members, the transfer to the Olympic Stadium was rated 5.07 (out of 10). The cold and the difficulty in accessing the field explain the rejection and force the club and the Barcelona City Council to work on a good mobility plan. Even after rectifying the price of the subscriptions, initially higher than those of the Camp Nou, there has not been the mobilization expected by Barca.
The 50% reduction —the most expensive is 850 euros and the cheapest is 360— has had little impact on members, a circumstance that will promote sales to the public with a double effect: it will increase collection while it can produce he effect eintracht, that is to say, that in the Olympic stands there are more fans of the rival than of Barca. The directive contemplates in any case that members without a subscription can obtain tickets at an affordable price in certain matches and discounts of up to 50%. The presence of spectators will also be encouraged with activities prior to the matches being played. We must not forget either the areas of reduced visibility in the corner (350 euros) and goal (255 euros). “We are going to need our people”, exclaims the coach Xavi Hernandez. “The Camp Nou factor – the average attendance exceeded 80,000 fans – was decisive in winning the League”.
Appealing and mobilizing tourists will be key to packaging Montjuïc. Before the pandemic, the average number of tourists present at the Camp Nou was 27,000. The offers from the tour operators were decisive: “Our package It included the entrance to the stadium plus access to the tour and the Barca museum. The sale worked very well, but this season we will only be able to sell the individual ticket to Montjuïc. We will not know how they will respond”, they say in one of the city operators, suspicious in any case of the Olympic Stadium.
Football does not usually fill the stands of Montjuïc. And it had many occasions to achieve it: it was the home of Espanyol for 12 years, it has hosted matches to remember such as Ronaldo’s debut with Barca in 1995, it hosted the Copa del Rey final in 2004 between Madrid and Zaragoza and it even saw Messi’s debut with Barca, in the 2004 derby. Only once was it sold out: Espanyol-Argentina at the Espanyol centenary celebration in 1999.
It is not easy to access the stadium and, on the other hand, it is usually a cold setting, reasons that dissuade the Barcelona member, who in many cases arrives at the Camp Nou by private car. Being located in the mountains and near the sea, the humidity is evident and the average minimum temperature in winter is 4ºC while in spring and autumn they reach 12º. The club will negotiate with the administration so that Barca’s home games are at a prudent hour to facilitate attendance. The opening match against Cadiz will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 20.
“In Montjuïc it is very cold and no matter how much you wrap up you will continue to be cold,” warns Moises Hurtado, a former Espanyol player who played at the Olympic Stadium for six years. The distance from the public with the field by the athletics track does not help either: “You do not feel the fans so close and you notice that, and the rival too”, concludes Moises.
The way to access the Olympic area is equally complicated because parking is restricted, the nearest metro is located in Plaza Espana and many times the escalators that facilitate the ascent to the stadium do not work. The Barca club is aware of these mobility problems and since the decision was made to move to Montjuïc it has worked together with the Barcelona City Council to avoid further inconvenience to the fans.
In February of this year, a General Mobility Plan was published for the Barca stay at the Olympic Stadium. With a budget of six million (Barca will pay 56% and the consistory 44%), the agreement contemplates a reinforcement in all means of transport with which you can reach the Olympic ring. The maintenance of the escalators will be increased by 70%, there will be a parking lot for the buses of the clubs, and shuttle buses that will leave from Plaza Espana and from the parking lot of the Fira, next to the Free Zone, which has a capacity for 8,200 cars. Sources from the City Council assure that there may be modifications and that more details are being worked on, but the mobility plan estimates that 42% of attendees will go up on foot, 20% by shuttle, 17% by car and 8% by motorcycle. The conclusions of the document ensure that the reinforcement of transport by metro, bus, funicular and shuttles will be enough for the mobility of fans to pass without problems. In addition, the letter ensures that the Catalan entity will take care of the expenses that are caused by the increase in these municipal services.
Added to the economic problems that are shaking Barca is the certainty that the football team’s resources will decrease —no matter how much sponsorship contracts increase— due to the transfer to Montjuïc until November 2024. The expected losses are 50 million after the last financial year closed with a profit of more than 30 million due to the levers activated by Joan Laporta’s board of directors. Thus, to the impossibility of signing and registering players due to the financial crisis, is added the complex challenge of getting the cule fan to Montjuïc. A stadium that in 1992 was the Olympic joy for the city of Barcelona and that 21 years later is a nightmare in can barca.
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Source: EL PAIS