El Clásico Miami Brings Thousands of Fans, Millions of Dollars to South Florida

By Debora Lima – Reporter, South Florida Business Journal
July 26, 2017


Tens of thousands of sports fans are expected to descend on South Florida this week, bringing along an influx of cash and yet another signal that the region’s once-sleepy summers may be heating up.

El Clásico Miami, a series of soccer matches between European clubs that kicks off Wednesday, is expected to generate millions of dollars for Miami and surrounding areas, thanks to hotel reservations, food and beverage sales at sports venues, restaurants and bars, and pricey game tickets.

“This tournament has been visiting Miami for a couple of years now but nowhere near the level it is this year,” said Rolando Aedo, spokesman and chief marketing officer for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our core mission is to generate buzz and publicity, so having this here has really helped in that regard.”

The newly renovated and renamed Hard Rock Stadium.

The recently renovated Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens will host Italian soccer club Juventus and opponent Paris Saint-Germain. Tickets to the match, where popular artists Cee Lo Green and Flo Rida are expected to perform, ranged in price from $45 to as much as $220 on ticketmaster.com.

El Clásico Miami’s main event, taking place Saturday, will be even pricier.

The Hard Rock will be packed with a sell-out crowd of nearly 65,000, according to the International Championship Cup, the organization behind El Clásico. Some attendees to the game, where long-time rivals Real Madrid and FC Barcelona will face off, will have paid as much as $4,500 per ticket for a seat close to the action. On the lowest end, tickets cost about $200.

Of the tens of thousands of tickets sold, only 30 percent were purchased by locals. The rest were snapped up by visitors from dozen of countries, such as Spain, Mexico and Chile.

In addition to the matches, El Clásico will also draw a number of off-shoot attractions, including a free festival at downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park and other sporting events, such as a boxing match at the Mana complex in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.

The GMCVB forecasts Miami-Dade County’s hotel occupancy rate (a measure of hotel fullness) to be at about 91 over this week.

Though the estimate reflects an increase of 2 percent compared to last year, Aedo considers it a major victory, given an uptick of about 10 percent in the overall number of hotel rooms in Miami.

“It’s just 2 percent, but it’s a bigger pie so we’re excited about that,” he said.

Overall, El Clásico is projected to generate between $50 million and $100 million in economic impact, according to ICC forecasting.

The economic boost comes to Miami on the heels of Swim Week, an annual gathering of fashion designers, models and fashion aficionados that wrapped up runway shows, celebrity appearances and parties on Sunday. Swim Week also followed another major Miami gathering: the Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal event. The July 19 conference brought more than 700 attendees, an astounding turnout, said Beacon Council chief marketing officer Susan Greene.

“It’s a misperception that the summertime can’t attract people,” Greene said, noting that previous OCOG conferences were held in February to ensure attendance. “People take vacations of course, and school’s out of course, but things are happening. They’re changing.”

July also saw the South Florida region play host to its first-ever MLB All-Star Game. The series of games and events helped boost profits for area hotels in between the region’s booming winter and spring months. Average daily rates in Miami-Dade County were up more than 16 percent during All-Star week, according to HotelsCombined, an Australia-based hotel price comparison website.

Four nights’ stay for El Clásico in Miami-area hotels fetched rates up to $778 dollars – about $194 per night, according to the platform.

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