Last weekend’s ElClásico was the 181st time that FC Barcelona and Real Madrid had met in LaLiga, but never in circumstances like this. Government health restrictions meant that, for the first time ever, football’s biggest fixture was played behind closed doors. But while the stands of the Camp Nou were empty, an audience of millions was able to get closer to the spectacle than ever before.
Organising events across six continents including Hollywood blockbuster stunts, watching parties and digital activations, while introducing new broadcast technology for the match itself, LaLiga utilised its full range of assets to help its global audience come together through the greatest show in club football.
Red carpet locations
In the days prior to kick-off, the red carpet was literally rolled out by LaLiga in seven iconic locations, presenting stunning photo opportunities that helped to build anticipation for the game on behalf of LaLiga and broadcast partners.
Carefully selected both for their prestige and the visual spectacle they offer, giant red carpets appeared in seven cities on six continents: the Sydney Opera House in Sydney (Australia), the Red Fort in Delhi (India), the Navruz Palace in Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Tower Bridge ( United Kingdom), the Plaza del Souvenir in Dakar (Senegal), The Vessel in Hudson Yards, New York (United States) and the Clock Tower in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia).
Promoting the fixture and the local broadcast partner, the installations created a unique invitation to the ‘premiere’ of ElClásico, the first of Season 90 of LaLiga.
“From London to Dakar, the installation of red carpets around the world brings to life the excitement, entertainment, glamor and global reach of this match and of LaLiga,” said Oscar Mayo, LaLiga's Director of Business, Marketing and International Development. “Seeing FC Barcelona play against Real Madrid is always an incredible show and with the world as a spectator this season will be no different.”
Digital and physical activations
On LaLiga’s 22 international social media channels, which have a combined following of 120 million, exclusive content was premiered throughout the week prior to the match as well as a livestream of the all-important pre-match buildup.
A special online Fan Zone was also created giving fans a chance to win replica shirts of their favourite clubs, while a brand new mobile game, Score Words LaLiga, was launched in line with the match offering new challenges and online gameplay.
For the match itself, over 100 ElClásico-themed actions were organised across the world, among them a public viewing for 700 fans in Shanghai and watch parties in Vietnam, Dubai, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and other locations across the African continent.
In Latin America, fans could enjoy the action from the comfort of their own cars in a series of drive-in cinema locations across Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Argentina.
An unrivalled broadcast and digital experience
With many limitations on public gatherings still in place, the TV viewing experience was in particularly sharp focus this year. But no matter their location in the world, a potential audience of 650 million fans was given a host of new insights into ElClásico.
New match broadcast graphics and statistics, launched by LaLiga for this season, provided fans with a more complete viewing experience. Thanks to the Mediacoach platform, LaLiga uses cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence to capture real-time match statistics, using Augmented Reality to transfer them to the screen.
For the first time, the showpiece fixture was also complemented by virtualised crowd and audio technology, following innovations developed by LaLiga alongside VIZRT and EA Sports.
With the addition of aerial cameras and drones capturing new and exclusive angles, LaLiga offered a blockbuster production to rival anything in the world of entertainment.
“Being a global organisation doesn’t just mean scale, it means close local contact with our fanbase,” Mayo added. “In spite of global circumstances we will always ensure that ElClásico, however fans experience it, is something to remember.”