Força Barça!

The CEA study abroad program in Barcelona offers a variety of AICAP activities for students to attend throughout the semester. These activities focus on showing the American students how to engage in and experience Barcelona through its culture, language, food, sports, and more. One of the most culturally immersive activities they offer students is a ticket to an FC Barcelona game.

Futbol Club Barcelona, otherwise known as “FCB”, is Barcelona’s professional fútbol club. FCB is well-respected by people from all over the world. They held the first place title in the years of 1997, 2009, 2011, 2012, and recently, 2015. They currently hold second place in La Liga, sitting right below their rival team, Real Madrid.

The rivalry between FCB and Real Madrid’s teams is called El Clásico. When these teams match up, it becomes a really big deal to fútbol fans, not only fans of FCB and Real Madrid, but all fans. Being that they are Spain’s two biggest cities, the team’s fans are very passionate and intense about El Clásico matches. Another reason why the rivalry is so intense is because FCB and Real Madrid are two of the best fútbol teams in the league. Both teams have a huge follower base on social media platforms.

FCB has had many victories throughout its’ history in the league. Here is a list of their honors and awards: 5 Champions League, 3 FIFA Club World Cup, 4 European World Cup Winner’s Cup, 3 Fair Cup, 5 European Super Cup, 2 Latin Cup, 4 Pyrenees Cup, 24 Spanish League Championship, 28 Spanish Cup, 12 Super Spanish Cup, 2 Spanish League Cup, 1 Mediterranean League, 1 Catalan League, 23 Catalan League Championship, 1 Catalan Super Cup, 8 Catalan Cup, and 3 Duarte Cup. They have had a lot of success over the past 117 years when the team was founded in 1899.

The team plays at Camp Nou Stadium, which is the biggest fútbol stadium in all of Europe. The five-star stadium’s current capacity holds almost 10,000 people. Inside the stadium, there is a, “chapel, the presidential box, the VIPs lounge, the press rooms, several television studios, the Sports Medicine Centre, the Operative Control Unit (UCO), the veteran players area, the FC Barcelona club museum…”.

According to Wikipedia, “FCB has the largest social media following in the world among sports teams”. Their follower count ranges from over 20 million on Twitter, 48 million on Instagram, 18,000 on Pinterest, and 98 million Likes on Facebook. FCB’s top players, Lionel Messi and Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (known as Neymar), bring in a lot of the team’s publicity with their talent and respect towards the game. Messi does not have a Twitter account of his own, however, there is an official fan page for him. The account has over 1.9 million followers.

Neymar’s personal Twitter account has almost 28 million followers.

These players attract a lot of publicity for their team. Social media is a great way to keep up with fútbol games, along with other sporting events all over the world. If someone is unable to watch a game, they can stay up to date with the stats through FCB’s Twitter account.

Not only do FCB’s social media accounts post about the team and receive a lot of feedback, but also thousands of people talk about the team through their own personal accounts.

Barcelona fans are very passionate about their team. An interesting fact that says a lot about the culture in Barcelona fútbol is that drinking alcohol is frowned upon at the games. In fact, alcoholic beverages are not sold in Camp Nou Stadium. Non-alcoholic beer is the only type of drink sold other than water and soft drinks. Barcelona is one of the biggest party cities in the world and drinking is a normal activity all over the city, except at the FCB games. In America, people love to sip on a cold glass of beer while watching their favorite sports teams play. However, in Barcelona, when people go to FC Barcelona games, they are 100% dedicated to watching fútbol. Intoxication is not a priority at these events.

FCB’s 2016-2017 team has three different sets of uniforms. They wear one of three sets, depending on whether the game is home, away, or for another reason (third). There are brand logos on the jersey which shows that the team is sponsored by these brands. The two main brand companies are Nike and Qatar Airways. When the team wears their jerseys with the brands, it advertises these companies, since every game is watched by so many people. The home jersey is the traditional red and blue stripes on the FCB logo and the Catalan flag, as shown below.

The away jersey is a dark purple color.

The third jersey is a light teal color.

In an interview with a CEA student who attended an FCB game, named Stefanie Blumer, she talked about her experience at Camp Nou Stadium. Blumer is originally from Warren, New Jersey, and is not particularly a huge fan of sports, however, she had a great experience at the FCB game. She attended the game on February 19, 2017, when the team played against Leganaés.

This shows that people, regardless if they are into sporting events or not, will most likely enjoy their experience at a professional fútbol game. Not only is the team enjoyable to watch, but also the atmosphere in the stadium is unlike anything seen before. Blumer also provided a link to her Instagram account, where she posted a photo of from the game with her friends. She refers to taking this photo with the FCBarcelona scarf in the interview.

Below is a highlight video from the game Blumer attended. She said it was a really exciting game because Barcelona won at the end of the game. The game was tied 1-1 and Messi scored the winning goal.

This AICAP activity is a great way to immerse American students into Spanish culture. Fútbol games are very important to Spanish locals and seeing it in person allows students to feel the passion reflecting from the fans. CEA should continue providing this activity to students for as long as possible because everyone who went seemed to have a great time.