The sight of VIP guests sitting courtside in the NBA is a familiar one, but it is far less common in the world of football. However in the Balearic Islands, Real Mallorca is changing that with a VIP offering that puts spectators as close as possible to the pitch of its Estadi de Son Moix stadium.
It stems from a visit to Phoenix, where those working at the club noticed that VIPs at US sports are brought closer to the action, instead of being given a box high up in the stands. “The VIP area concept is to be close to the field, where you can have a different, closer experience, smell the grass and follow everything that happens in the game,” Maheta Molango, the club’s CEO, remarked.
The VIP Corner at Real Mallorca sees around 20 people placed in a luxury area on the running track that surrounds the pitch, where they are offered catering, such as freshly made pizzas, and even a cocktail service during the match. “We wanted to turn our athletics track into an opportunity” explained Molango. “It has had a great reception from our fans.”
The emphasis of VIP Corner is on exclusivity and a unique experience. For these reasons, at the end of the game, the VIPs are treated to priority entry to what the club calls “the third half”. This is a meet and greet event where they can chat with the players and coaching staff and complete their memorable day with autographs or photos.
As for the overall reception to the VIP corner, the club has seen a very positive response from fans who are now using the space for a variety of reasons. “We first implemented this initiative two years ago, testing it in the Second Division B and the numbers were very good,” Molango noted.
“We have two types of clients, those that buy seats individually and companies that use VIP Corner as an opportunity to do business and to entertain customers and employees. Some companies buy the whole VIP Corner for exclusive use during a match. The feedback has been very positive here. People appreciate the creativity and originality that they have not seen in other football stadiums.”
Beyond the matchday
While VIP Corner transforms the matchday for its users, one of the standout aspects of the space is that it can also be used when there is no match taking place.
“It is also used for corporate events during other days,” revealed Molango. “It’s a perfect place to hold corporate events, from networking to business conferences, training courses, colloquiums and end-of-the-year events, among others.”
There is also a large indoor room next to the VIP Corner, attached to the club’s press room, which can also be used to ensure the club are getting the most out of the stadium throughout the year.
For a club based on an island visited by millions of holidaymakers, such initiatives make perfect sense in the eyes of Molango and create clear opportunities for the club’s partners. “We aim to take advantage of the 15 million tourists who come to Mallorca every year,” he said. “One package that we offer allows the VIP fans to be collected at their hotel by a driver, they see the game in the VIP Corner, they take part in the third half and then they have the option to choose one of our partner restaurants and be transported there by our driver. With this experience, the visitor can a plan for the whole day. We’re also helping sponsors to show off their product, which is something they value a lot.”
From football fans to visiting businesses, VIP Corner provides another compelling reason to visit the Balearics. But more broadly, initiatives such as these demonstrate how Spanish football clubs are branching out their offering, thinking far beyond the game to include a full match day experience.