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SBD Global/December 17, 2012/International Football

Rabid Corinthians Fans Generate $100M On Travel Packages To Club World Cup

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Brasileiro club Corinthians' marketing department revealed that fans spent R$200M ($95.9M) with the team's official airline for packages to attend the FIFA Club World Cup finals in Japan, according to Erich Betting of MAQUINA DO ESPORTE. Close to 30,000 fans have made the trip to Japan and bought travel packages through the club. Corinthians Marketing Dir Caio Campos said, "Just so you have an idea, we are in the biggest hotel in Tokyo, with 1,400 rooms, and 800 of those rooms are booked for us" (MAQUINA DO ESPORTE, 12/16).

FANS' STORIES 'CRAZY': In London, Matt Hughes wrote the sight of  "exuberant Corinthians fans bouncing around the otherwise sterile streets of Yokohama is remarkable in itself, and becomes even more so when you hear the stories behind some incredible adventures." Corinthians Sporting Dir Edu explains that cars have been sold, money collected on street corners and beds borrowed from strangers in order to "facilitate the trip of a lifetime." Edu said, "Corinthians is a club like no other in the world, but the fans are poor people. They sell cars to come here, they borrow money from the bank to come here. If you hear the stories of the guys that follow the team, it’s crazy." He added, "I saw this guy stood outside our stadium. He said: 'Edu, can I borrow five Real ($2.4) or ten Real ($4.8). I am borrowing money to go to Japan.’ He was borrowing money from everybody and writing down exactly what everyone had given him, so he could pay them back" (LONDON TIMES, 12/15). CNN's James Montague wrote 30,000 Corinthians fans had turned up in Nagoya, "bathing the city in black and white." Corinthians fan Marcos Nunes said, "Corinthians is like a nation, a religion ... people are borrowing money from banks, from relatives to come here. They are quitting their jobs, selling their bikes, their cars, even their fridges. It's true. My boss knows I'm here. But even if he didn't we'd still be here ... If we have to go to Japan OK. If we have to go to Chelsea to play at Stamford Bridge, OK. We'll be 30,000 there." More than 200,000 Brazilians live in Japan and the Japanese government "issued record numbers of visas to Brazilians for the tournament" (CNN, 12/14).
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