Let’s play a fun thought-experiment game. You, genius, American (probably), Tottenham Hotspur fan, are so swept up in Spurs’ magical run to the Champions League final that you decide that you want to be at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid for Spurs’ first taste of a European final since the 1960s. You know it’ll be pricey — it’s one of the most watched and popular sporting events in the world — but damn the torpedoes, how hard could it possibly be?
Unfortunately, the answer is: without question extremely difficult, and extortionately expensive. Time to break it down.
One of the most common questions I’ve gotten on Twitter from various people through DMs is if there’s any possibility at this stage of getting tickets to the Champions League final match inside the Wanda. Tottenham released information about their ticket allocation at the Wanda a few days ago, and it’s not great. Spurs have received an allocation of just 16,613 tickets, the same amount as Liverpool, and which accounts for roughly 25% of the seating capacity of the stadium.
Most of those tickets (about 74% of the total) are designated as Category 3-4 seats — less desirable but not necessarily in the nosebleed section — with the remainder in the more expensive and closer Category 1 & 2 sections. Prices for those tickets range from £60 for Category 4 to £513 for Category 1, with some variance for restricted view seating.
Unfortunately, there is nowhere near enough tickets to meet the demand of even Tottenham season ticket holders, much less you, a genius American Spurs fan flying over for the weekend. The club is giving priority to long-time season ticket holders, and will pretty much be holding a lottery for loyal fans for the right to purchase these tickets. Basically, unless you are a OneHotspur member with a zillion loyalty points, you have no chance of getting one through Tottenham.
So Spurs’ and Liverpool’s ticket allocations make up 50% of the stadium seating. The remaining tickets are made available to the general public and have been for some time. A quick search of UEFA’s website shows that at the time of this article’s posting, all general admission tickets are sold out. That includes the premium “hospitality packages” which were available for the low, low price of €6,900/person, plus VAT.
That leaves the reseller’s market, and it’s very important to note that UEFA is emphatic in recommending fans NOT use this approach for tickets, due to the very high risk of being scammed. A quick look at StubHub shows that while there ARE tickets available, presently the cheapest option is €4000 for a Category 4 seat.
Of course you can also buy your tickets from your co-worker’s cousin’s best friend’s roommate’s friend’s uncle who lives in Madrid and knows this guy who’s neighbor has a SWEET Category 2 ticket at slightly above cost, but caveat emptor.
OK, so maybe you can’t get inside the stadium, but you could go hang out in Madrid and find a pub for the EXPERIENCE, right?
I hopped onto Kayak to see what airfare to Madrid is costing at the moment. Assuming one leaves Thursday, May 30 and flies back on Monday, June 3, the average cost for a round-trip ticket is the following:
- New York (La Guardia): $1800
- Chicago: $1700
- Miami: $700 (bargain!)
- Los Angeles: $1400
- Boston: $2100
- Seattle: $2900
As for hotels, just for fun I jumped on Bookings.com to see what it might cost for a few nights in a hotel somewhere nearby the Wanda around the match. I didn’t do more than a cursory search, but the cheapest hotel room I could find is at the admittedly swank-looking Hotel Senator Barajas for a reasonable $541/night. (By way of contrast, book that hotel in July and you can get the same room for $88/night.)
Certainly it’s possible to do all of this on the cheap, or at least cheaper. There are alternate routes you can take to get to Madrid that might cost less. You could stay at a hotel further away (or even outside Madrid) and commute in for the match. You could go the youth hostel route. But just to get your foot in the door, so to speak, it’s going to cost a pretty penny.
Tottenham may or may not ever make it back to this stage of the Champions League, so it’s natural to take a look and see if it’s at all feasible for people like you and me to attend. And truthfully, if you look at this and decide that money is no object for an experience of a lifetime, more power to you! I make it a point not to judge on what people spend their money. Just know that it’s going to cost. A lot. And that’s without the guarantee of a ticket, or even a place in a crowded pub. But Madrid is very pretty in June, I hear, and like at the World Cup even if you don’t get to attend a game it’s going to be a huge party atmosphere and a fantastic experience.
And if you do go, if you need someone to, IDK, carry your suitcases and call you a cab afterwards in exchange for a free plane ticket, let me know.