Experience the colour and passion of Argentine football the way the locals do.
Accompanied by an expert.
Argentina is home to one of the most competitive and longest-running league championships in the football world. The giants of River Plate and Boca Juniors are only a small part of the story; Argentine clubs have won the Copa Libertadores more times than any other country’s sides, and the atmosphere of a game at the grounds of the likes of Racing Club (above) has to be seen to be believed. What’s more, if you’re visiting Buenos Aires you’re in a unique position to catch a top flight match. A huge number of Primera sides are from Greater Buenos Aires, and several matches per weekend are easily reachable from central BA. Attending a football match in Argentina should rank right at the top of your ‘things to do’ list along with eating a humungous steak and watching a tango show. It is an unforgettable experience and you will have lots of fun telling people back home about it.
Heard enough? Here’s how to contact me:
Sam Kelly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read on to find out what we’re about.
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Who I am:
I’m Sam, an English football writer who has followed Argentine football since 2002, and lived in Buenos Aires since April 2010. I’m the author of the blog you’re currently reading, and write regularly on Argentine football for ESPNFC, When Saturday Comes magazine in the UK, The Bubble here in Argentina, and occasionally for various other outlets. Find me on Twitter here.
I can be heard on the world’s only English-language Argentine football podcast, Hand Of Pod. In late 2010, along with a friend, I started taking visitors to Buenos Aires to matches, and from those experiences the idea of these tours was born (though my friend, Dan, has since moved back to Australia).
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How it works
Price: around US$85* per person. That includes your match tickets. PLEASE NOTE this was an approximate price during 2015. At the time of updating this page (January 2016) final prices for the new campaign haven’t been announced yet – this should be taken as a ballpark figure.
*Ticket prices vary from ground to ground. The idea, as you will see below, is that once you get in touch I can lay out the available options for you to choose whichever suits you best, with a final price. I calculate the price by working out the combined ticket prices (yours and mine) and adding a little extra as our fee. I am transparent the whole way through regarding the face value of the tickets you are getting. Hence, if there are only one or two of you, and you decide on one of the more expensive venues (such as Racing) the price might be a little more. Then again, it could be less if the group is larger and/or we are travelling to a ground with better-priced seats.
Why choose us?
I can offer cheaper rates than other soccer tours because I do not charter buses to go around picking people up from various hotels. There are advantages to this as well, such as more personalised, smaller groups and the fact that you will not arrive at the ground several hours before the match kicks off as can often happen with traditional tours. Additionally, I’m a native English speaker with huge experience watching and explaining Argentine football. That means I can give proper explanations of everything that goes on at the games.
What you get:
- I’ll help you decide, according to your schedule, which match to attend for the best overall experience. I can knowledgeably inform you on factors such as safety, travel time, quality of the teams involved, ease of transport to and from the ground etc.
- I purchase your tickets for you. The ease of getting tickets varies greatly depending on which ground the match is being played at and the teams involved. For some matches they can be bought right up until kick off, for others you need to line up at a ticket office several days before the game. Which sector of the stadium you are sitting in can also colour your experience. You don’t have to worry about all that, though. I’ll look after it.
- Accompaniment to the game. We will meet at a pre-arranged location (your hotel or hostel if it suits you) in an area of the city you’re familiar with (the centre or Palermo, for instance) and go from there to the stadium. There are no special gringo shuttle buses, though. We take public transport like the rest of the fans travelling to the game. I know all the major grounds in Buenos Aires and the best ways to get there.
- Whether you are a football expert or complete novice, I will be by your side throughout the match to offer whatever insight you need. Want to know which players to look out for? Why these particular fans dislike each other so much? Why are the home side the ones wearing their change kit? What they are singing about? What the lines on the pitch mean? Why aren’t the players in shoulder-pads and helmets? I live and breathe Argentine football so we love talking about it. No question is too basic or too obscure.
- After the game I’ll ensure you safely exit the ground and will drop you off wherever is convenient. I’ll even join you for dinner or a drink or two if you want to continue the football chat or just talk Argentine life in general over a few glasses of Malbec. Yes, I know the best bars and parrillas too!
A couple of final points
1. Safety is of utmost importance. I attend matches around Buenos Aires every weekend and know the ins and outs. The dangers of going to games are often exaggerated, especially by the locals. The barra bravas (hooligan groups) have a fearsome reputation, but they are confined to certain sections of the stadium. I will be taking you to the platea section of the ground, where mothers, fathers, little kids and grandpas can all be found screaming obscenities at opposition players in a secure environment. I’ve never had any safety scares but that doesn’t stop me taking every necessary precaution. If you decide to join me at a match, I will forward you an email with tips regarding safety. Having said the dangers are often exaggerated, there are some stadia we probably won’t take you to. Boca Juniors and River Plate are two (see #3 for an explanation); San Lorenzo is another.
2. If you think you can handle the trip to the ground and ticket purchase on your own, I will be happy to advise you on where and when to pick up tickets and which matches would be most suitable. Free of charge (and perhaps over a drink). That’s how nice I am.
3. Unfortunately, Boca Juniors and River Plate do not sell tickets to the public. Neither have done for several years. All matchday tickets are allocated to club members. For that reason it is almost impossible for me to take anyone to a Boca or River home game (please note this doesn’t apply to Argentina national team matches at River’s stadium, which I’m perfectly able to help you with). Organised tour groups and travel agencies do have access to tickets purchased at high rates from certain factions within the clubs and resold at even higher rates to tourists. If you are desperate to attend one of these games, and think the exorbitant price is worth paying (that’s not a dig, if you are a fan you may decide forking over the money is worth it for the experience), we can point you in direction of a tour operator who can take you there. It sucks, I know. I’ve spent many an afternoon wailing, gnashing our teeth and pulling our hair in front of the Bombonera and the Monumental, but to no avail. Tickets are the exclusive property of a select few.
A perennial favourite
Particularly popular with my guests, given the impossibility of me accompanying you to a River or Boca match, is the Argentinos Juniors experience. Argentinos are one of BA’s most historic clubs, and although they’re not as big as the country’s giants they do have one of very few club museums in the city (the third to be opened, after River’s and Boca’s efforts). I have a deal with the club whereby we can attend the match and afterwards take a look round the museum – which includes a room dedicated to Argentinos’ most famous youth academy product, Diego Maradona (you might have heard of him) – and then take a walk out onto the pitch, all included in the ticket price. The post-match experience means it’s sure to be an enjoyable time even if the game itself isn’t brilliant, and you might even bump into some of the players when we make our way downstairs – or even a celebrity! In my years of taking people to Argentinos games I’ve met former Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock, Hugo Maradona (Diego’s brother) and Diego Sinagra (Diego Maradona’s illegitimate son) among others. Please note that whilst celebrity sightings are included in the price, I can’t guarantee we’ll see one. It’s strictly an unexpected bonus.
All that’s left to do now is get in touch by phone or email and I can start arranging your Argentine football experience. Here’s how to contact me, in case you didn’t already click the link above:
Sam Kelly: email@example.com