IF you are in Buenos Aires DURING fútbol season, it would be an absolute shame to not go to a game. For me, this was the most authentic, exciting, and cultural experience I have had in Argentina.
Getting Tickets to the Match
Getting tickets to a fútbol match seems like this mysterious and slightly impossible feat when you first arrive to the city. It isn’t until talking to someone who has done it and have them walk you through the process does it start to seem less daunting and in reality quite simple. Here are the steps (Thanks to Mitchell in my API program!): figure out who you are going to see play and where the home teams stadium is, go to the stadium a couple days before the game and buy tickets. Ta da! That simple.
The Rest of the Logistics
The hard part is figuring out where the stadium is, how to get there, and being sure that you remain safe in the process (some of the barrios on the outskirts of the capital can be quite dodgy). Just keep in mind that it is nearly impossible to get tickets to a home Boca game because the tickets are all taken by socios (fans who pay money into the club to get discounts and first go at tickets) and that away fans are not allowed into games (to help stop the violence – Anyone see the Boca River game last week?!). So needless to say, you better be cheering for the home team and not a peep if the away team scores!
Independiente versus Boca Juniors
Me and three other study abroad students purchased tickets to go to the Independiente versus Boca game on a Sunday night at the Independiente gancha (stadium). We took a bus from the city (which surprisingly took almost no time) and hopped off a couple blocks from the stadium. Everyone was wearing red and white Diablos gear and moving in the same direction to the stadium.
Immediately we bought flags, hats, and scarves unable resist not participating in the already apparent energy around us. The closer we got to the stadium the louder the singing and the chanting became (and the game hadn’t even started)!
The number on our ticket indicated our door entrance and we continued on up to our section after walking through metal detectors and being patted down.
I quickly went to the bathroom and could literally feel the concrete (up on the 6th floor) shaking beneath my feet, the door to my bathroom stall kept a rhythm by swaying and bumping against the lock. It was insane.
Our 400 AR$ tickets were to a standing section towards the top of the gancha. Somehow we wiggled through to the front and ended up with a spectacular view of the pitch. The whistle blew, the game started, the singing got louder. Within 15 minutes everyone went insane, counterattack, beautiful cross, fast hard header – GOOOAAAAAAALLLLL INNDDDEEEPPENNNDIIEEENNTTEEEEE!!!
The energy was intoxicating and alive, settling deep within your chest.
Towards the end of the first half Boca snuck in a goal off a corner kick, if you had looked away when it happened you would have never knew they scored. Not one person in that stadium cheered, the chanting for the Diablos continued, the game went on.
The second half was a fierce battle, great soccer, incredibly exciting. The end result was 1-1 and slowly the fans exited the stadium. Although the singing decreased some in noise, it was still constant continuing out in the streets.
Heading back to the main road to BA there were hundreds of people grilling burgers on the street, selling drinks and paraphernalia. We ended up taking a taxi home, as the lines to the buses were incredibly long and buses are incredibly sparse at night. On the way home we all had big smiles plastered on our faces, still riding on the energy and excitement of the game. Never in my life have I seen such dedicated and passionate fans. Every single person in that stadium stood for the entire match, the singing and chanting never ceased. It’s easy to understand how fútbol is so important and overwhelming here once you’ve participated…. All I want to do is go to another game!!