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The glimpse of spring round the corner means that the Champions League’s business end is very much approaching. The pressure is ramped up, big teams find themselves facing off against each other and the margin for error vanishes into next to nothing.
As the teams compete to get their hands on the Champions League, the trophy itself is on its own journey, finding its way into one very special event in Central London, the latest stop on its UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour. Partnering with Heineken, the tour brings all the passion and drama of the Champions League to new locations around the world, with some of the game’s biggest names invited along the way.
For Chelsea’s first leg against Barcelona this season, Heineken created an immersive supporter event, hidden away from the crowds, that gets fans closer to the trophy and the drama than anywhere else. Imagine if the Champions League wooed Secret Cinema for a special night, this would be their lovechild. Perhaps it would be twins: one aristocratic, members’ club Chelsea boy and one fiery Catalan flamenco dancer, taking you by the hand through a unique viewing experience as each vies for your affections and support.
The night starts with you being greeted by some shady looking programme sellers on the street, before you’re directed into a small room, part media mix zone, part sports bar. Once a UEFA delegate draws the teams and the rivals are set, you’re suddenly thrust into a changing room, gearing up for the biggest match of your impromptu footballing career. The gaffer is pumping you up, emphasising how victory is within sight ‘inch by inch’ and, before you know it, you’re sent out into the game. But where the Champions League’s actual competitors take to the turf, viewers at the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour find themselves in a softly lit members’ club, ushered in by a dapper gent in navy velvet.
This is very much Chelsea. Fans are encouraged to support the home team, with English food served up and a certain West London class added to proceedings. And then at half-time, when you’re readying yourself for the second half, you’re suddenly thrust into Catalonia. Smashing through the giant screen itself, supporters are transported from Chelsea to Barcelona. Dandy gents are now Latin ladies, the dark club has become a lively tapas bar, and ploughman’s and piccalilli has been replaced with patatas bravas, grilled chorizo and Spanish omelette.
With both teams battling it out on screen, you’re placed among the fans of both sides. While nothing can replace being in the stadium itself, this trophy tour takes you to two cities at once. Where else can you spend 45 minutes in Chelsea and 45 in Catalonia, all in one match? It’s an utterly unique experience. It’s miles away from your traditional game day, yet still celebrates everything that’s great about the Champions League. What’s more, we may not have even reached the quarter-final stage and you still get a glimpse of the tournament’s magnificent trophy.
Head here to #sharethedrama and find out more about the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour.