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Remembering the great career of Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires with Homefans

Tomas tells us about the virtual tour he hosts in memory of Diego Maradona’s early career in Argentinos Juniors.

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Once a month, Tomas holds a virtual tour of Buenos Aires and tells Maradona’s story. Today, Tomas shares with us all his knowledge about Diego’s time with Argentinos Juniors. If you’re a football fan and a Fanstriker reader you can use our discount code VTFANSTRIKER for a discount while booking your next virtual tour on Homefans.

 

Today we’re taking a trip to Argentina to discover the youth of Diego Maradona. Joined by Thomas, a young Argentinian and a specialist of Argentinian football history. Tomas was born and raised in La Paternal, the same neighbourhood where the Diego Armando Maradona stadium is located. He is offering to visit the story of Diego Maradona here in Buenos Aires. Everything is made online. An unique virtual experience.

Hello Tomas, as I mentioned in the introduction, you’re a super fan of Argentinos Juniors. How did this passion came to you? Why are you a fan of the club? Did it come from your family or from your friends?

Yes, in a neighborhood like this, in which the club is also the center of the social life, it is hard to avoid Argentinos Juniors and not be involved in the club. So if you like football, which in Argentina is quite a big deal, you tend to be linked with the club even if you like any other sports. Then you fall in love with the club. The sense of belonging is huge here. It is hard to not be a part of the club’s community. For example, I’m a fan since I can recall because everything happened in or around the club here in the local community of La Paternal.

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People in La Paternal pay tribute to Maradona in the streets

Football culture in Argentina

So you share your passion with everybody in the community, not only your family, but also your friends and everybody in the neighborhood is an Argentinos Juniors fan. There is no traitors around? (Laugh)

No, most most of the people here support the club, actually. It is hard to be apart from it. Even those who are not supporters of the club then tend to appreciate it in a very special way because it is also part of their lives.

On a day to day basis you can go ahead and talk about Argentinos Juniors with anyone, right?

Yes, they have the emblem of the club in their shops, for example. You get to see jerseys or clothing of the club all the time here in the streets of the neighborhood. I still live here. I’ve been living here since I was born and I returned to our neighborhood last year. And yes, it is it feels like home.

There is a big fascination across the world, for Argentinian football. In your opinion, what makes it so special?

I think the most special thing about Argentinian football is that we produce, together with Brazil, of the most skilful players in the world. I think it happens because besides sports, football is the main entertainment people have especially in the working class. Kids spend their whole day running behind the ball, without realizing that they are actually improving their technique all the time. Most of it happen because they tend to play in any random piece of ground they can find in the streets. So when they are a little bit older, they go to a club, and then it is a matter of polishing those rough diamonds created by the spontaneous soccer played that takes place all the time in the streets and in the neighborhoods of this country. I think that the technique and the quality of the players is what makes Argentinian footballers different than anywhere else in the world.

Maradona sanctuary

Maradona is everywhere in La Paternal

Maradona : a legend close to Buenos Aires’ community

So football is everywhere all the time, I believe it’s it’s what makes Argentinian football players so good. Today we’re here to talk about an Argentinian legend of football, Maradona. You live in La Paternal the neighborhood of Buenos Aires were Argentinos Juniors and the Maradona stadium are located. Maradona started his professional career in Argentinos Juniors. Do some of your relatives remember seeing him play in the stadium?

Yes. When Diego came to the club, he was only eight years old. When he was playing in the academy, everybody knew about him in the neighborhood. So when he was about to play on the First Division, and people knew he would play soon, they would arrange their work and everything to attend to the stadium, just in case Diego appeared. You could see him playing in the Academy, and he was an outstanding player since he was a child. An uncle of mine had a hardware store at that time located five blocks away from the stadium. He was taking turns with his co-workers to take care of the store when the matches were taking place. In 1976, he skipped his shift at the store to watch Argentinos Juniors game against Talleres de Córdoba, just in case Diego appeared for his first match. He was a lucky on that day because that was the Diego’s first match.

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As years went by, Diego became famous all over the country. People from every single club came to the stadium just to see Diego play. Soon the club had to rent a bigger stadium in order to be able to host the huge crowds that came to see him. At that time, we had a very old wooden stadium. Let’s keep in mind that I’m talking about the late 70s. Here in Argentina, there was just one match per week shown on TV. So in order to see football, you had to attend to the stadium. Everybody said Diego was so incredible that you had to see him with your own eyes. So in a matter of months, all of my relatives, all of the members of my family, who are around 50 years old now, attended to the stadium to see Diego play. He was really a big deal in a time without social media and with fewer press coverage. So yes, it was outstanding.

I think that it’s incredible to take that into the context of the 1970s. As you said, just by word of mouth, people knew about how great this player was. At such a young age, he attracted so many viewers in the stadium and I believe that’s what makes him truly special. There was no time where he was this underrated underdog player. He just came on the scene being a legend.

He was an immediate legend. He was only 15 years old when he he made his first appearance. So we are talking about a child who was playing along with the top stars in the Argentinian league at the time.

A virtual tour of Buenos Aires to know everything about Maradona and his time with Argentinos juniors’.

Every month you collaborate with Homefans and offer a tour of La Paternal for Maradona fans, hosted on Zoom. So you have fans from around the world joining you. You tell them everything about the neighborhood and how it was impacted by Maradona. What are the highlights of the tour? And what can people see?

Yes, it was a great initiative that we could arrange with together with Homefans. We can share Diego’s story and his golden age with people from all over the world as you said, and including those who might not know about Diego’s first club. It is great to have a camera to be in the same streets he used to walk when he lived here and to share the story of Diego’s golden age, with people from every place in the world. We had visitors from Serbia, Croatia, France, Northern Europe, in the Netherlands, everywhere. We didn’t want to make a tour about the recent episodes of Diego’s life, but about his golden age.

Maradona Street Art

We’re lucky to have all the main sites within just a couple of blocks. We visit the stadium in which he made his first appearance. We have the street art, which is all over the neighbourhood and increasing on the recent days. Those paintings show Diego at different stages of his career but also other key individuals like Francis Cornejo, who was his first coach. Everything happens around the stadium. We cover the whole perimeter outside of the stadium. We go to the sanctuary, which was built a couple of days after he passed away. We also visit some of the beautiful paintings we have around. I conduct everything, the stories and the meaning of all the things we get to see. I tried to make the visitors understand how deep Diego’s impact was on this club and on the local community.

We can agree that Diego put us on the map. We were just a random neighborhood with a random club in Argentina. Diego’s appearance really changed history. So that’s the key point we want to share with people. It is about sharing the story of Diego at the time he called his golden age. Of course, we would prefer to do this tour in person. We will do it when people are able to travel but nowadays virtual tours are the best alternative we have to keep spreading these beautiful stories.

La Paternal : a neighborhood marked by the prodigy Maradona

We’re glad that we can have some some experiences around football thanks to Zoom even though we have to stay home. What’s your favourite part of the tour? What’s maybe something that really surprises people? Can you share a memorable anecdote about Maradona and his time in Argentinos Juniors?

There are many parts of this tour that are special to me because I was one of the people who designed it, I’m not just the person that hosts it. The new sanctuary, which was built recently after Diego passed away, is one of my favorite part of the tour. It is located inside the stadium and it includes all the offerings that people left for Diego’s memory in recent days, of course, and it has grown day after day. You know people leave jerseys, soccer balls, football boots, the flags of their teams, everything! Everyone has space to pay him tribute. It is quite moving for us. We are still soft hearted about it because everything is recent. There is a beautiful Diego painting on the back of the sanctuary. I like it a lot.

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Tomas and his friends contributed to the Maradona tributes with this painting

Then speaking of anecdotes and stories, I have a lot of them. We added to the Q&A part. People ask a lot about Diego’s story. I got a lot of interest and deep questions about Diego’s matches, about the key moments of his career. It shows that they’re really into it. So I love the Q&A because I get to see how involved people get with my storytelling. I see how involved they are in this tour in which I just share the passion I have for Diego and for the club. As I told you before, I try to explain how important he was for the club and the whole community. He was so impactful that people spontaneously gather around the stadium specifically. They did not gather around the Diego’s house or anywhere else. And in the following days, the gatherings became bigger and bigger, because the stadium became like a sacred place in the city.

Even in the strange situation we are going through with COVID, people come to pay tribute to Diego. It is quite touching for us because we belong to this community. It was like losing one of us, losing the best of us. That’s when we got the idea of making the tour, not to talk about the sad things that just happened, but talk about his best years. It was a way for us to explain why the community’s reaction was so spontaneous, so deep and so lovely. It was incredible, and we are still quite soft hearted about it. It is very emotional for us to talk about it. After a couple days, the club built the sanctuary I was telling you about. It is a beautiful place. People can visit it on any weekday. What has been happening here is very touching. Seeing people with not only Argentinos Juniors jerseys, but also with the national team equipment or with other teams jerseys. That really shows that Diego was the king, the biggest legend of Argentinian football and everybody was surrendering to his feet. They did that in our stadium. So it is officially the most Maradonian place in monasteries you can find.

That’s definitely the place you would want to have a tour and if you are a Maradona fan. Currently it’s not possible to go there physically but you can go there virtually thanks to your virtual tour. Thanks to you and Homefans we can discover Maradona’s legacy virtually through Zoom. I believe it’s one of the best thing that we could do right now to remember what a great player he was.

It is nice to remember his Golden Ages and specifically. When everything was pure and just about football.

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Every fan can leave a message on this wall to remember Maradona

Participate to the Maradona Tour in Buenos Aires

I strongly recommend anybody that is reading to this interview to give it the Maradona tour a try because it’s really fascinating. You learn a lot about Maradona and the way people truly appreciate him and his impact on football in the whole neighborhood. Thank you very much for answering all of our questions Thomas. I can’t wait for February the 20th for the next Maradona tour to happen and to see a people’s reactions because I believe it’s truly fantastic. Where can people find out more about you and the tour?

You can check Homefans social media and also the Homefans website in which you can book the next tour. The next date is on the second weekend of February. You can join me for the Maradona tour that we were talking about. You can also join me for the Argentinos Juniors which is a different one in which we go around the stadium, the dressing rooms, the museum that we have on the club and on the pitch itself. So you can book these both virtual tours through Homefans. It is quite cheap, 7€ for the Maradona tour (5€ with the discount code VTFANSTRIKER). It is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon if you’re a football fan!

I am looking forward to these tours. I actually miss discovering new things about football and learning about football culture in different places. Click here if you’re interested in joining the virtual tour about Maradona on February 20th at 7pm CET. Bonus, you get a special discount if you’re a Fanstriker with the code VTFANSTRIKER. Thomas, thank you very much for this interview. I will see you on Zoom for your next tour. Bye.

Bye Bye. Thanks to you and thanks to all the listeners of the Fanstriker podcast.

Visit the Homefans shop to buy collector Maradona jerseys and South American jerseys. Apply code FANSTRIKER at check out for a 10% discount.

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OZ takes virtual sports experiences to the next level

OZ is creating an immersive and interactive experience to energize live events in the metaverse, utilising social media experiences. Sports clubs and broadcasters will be able to use the platform to offer personalized viewing experiences.

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OZ-Rooms

Last May, Gudjon Gudjonsson came on the podcast to introduce us to an augmented reality technology where fans could create an avatar and place it in the stadium. The goal was to bring sports global audiences closer to live events to experience the atmosphere anywhere in the world. The company goes even further to create a digital community in your living room, effectively closing the energy gap. This is possible through the metaverse. OZ is focusing on creating a highly personalized, interactive and accessible solution for the many, not the few. This is the dimension that has been missing since the beginning of lockdown!

OZ : An experience designed to energize live events

The advent of social networks, smartphones and tablets has changed the way we consume sport. This transformation resonates all the more strongly as Generation Z, the generation that grew up with these technologies, is now old enough to become a key target for broadcasters and sponsors. OZ has grasped this and is coming back with a new objective: to enhance the link between Gen Z and live sports events.

OZ’s approach to achieving this goal is ultra-personalization and socialization. By using social network experiences preferred by the new sports audiences, OZ utilises them to create a new, more immersive and more social fan experience. Sports fans can meet in a metaverse (virtual space) to follow the game with friends. They will be able to see the stadium filled with other fans’ avatars and interact with other fan groups just like they would at the stadium. After experimenting with this new feature at a concert on New Year’s Eve, OZ will also be rolling it out for sports events.

An experience with great potential for personalization

Users will be represented by their personalized avatars. They will be able to customize them in a way that reflects the event and their personalities. Fan groups will be able to meet virtually and follow the match together. They will be able to chat together, customize their environment, and interact with the game. The solution contains features that allow spectators to express themselves vocally and visually.

Since we have been having sports events without fans, what we miss the most when watching sports on TV is the energy of the audience. OZ users will be able to see all the other fans reacting to the game, cheering and encouraging their team. This feature puts the sense of community back at the heart of the fan experience on match days. This was one of the biggest challenges of having games without fans. Even before social distancing restrictions, the majority of fans were unable to attend matches in person and feel the energy. This is why, between the exchanges inside the and the opportunity to interact with the other groups of fans, OZ offers us the closest thing to the fun of a stadium match.

The OZ are home to a variety of activation opportunities for clubs and broadcasters.

OZ can even become the support for the most creative club and league activations.

Organize exclusive events inside OZ

OZ can become the support for the most creative club and league activations. On the one hand, OZ’s digital environment can become a venue for virtual events organized by clubs or leagues. These spaces can be public or private. Why don’t you organize a watch party there with commentaries by a guest appreciated by the fans? We can imagine that these virtual spaces can host a former player of the club, officials, sports influencers or even artists as their avatar selves. We can also imagine that different spaces are intended for different audiences with commentators who present the game differently. As Canal+ did during the classic, the comments from a room can be rooting for one of the teams. The commentaries can also be adapted to the level of familiarity of the fans with the rules of the game.

Use the content shared by OZ users on social media

Additionally, the social dimension of the metaverse is not limited to the experience inside specific spaces. Users, leagues and clubs will be able to easily share images of their experience across multiple platforms. Sports media, leagues and clubs can share highlights of games with fan reactions, whilst the fans can share their avatar experience in the various digital spaces. Recreating this type of content using user-generated content provides an abundance of interactive moments between sports and their fans, both in and out of the metaverse.

The strength of OZ’s metaverse is its visual, audio and interactive experience. It puts the sense of community back at the heart of the fan experience on game day. By taking the experiences of social networks, OZ has created an experience tailor-made for young and even old audiences seeking to energize their viewing experience. If the platform incorporates enough features to keep groups of fans entertained during a match, clubs and leagues will be able to let their creativity run wild to offer exclusive experiences within the metaverse.

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Homefans E1: The Parisian fan experience with Alex

Alex, a parisian soccer fan tells us how he created a travelling experience around PSG for international PSG fans.

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Le Parc des Princes, Paris

Here is the first episode of a series dedicated to the best fan experience in the world with Homefans. Welcome to Paris and the Parisian experience.

 

Let’s start the first episode of our partnership with Homefans with an immersion in Paris at the Parc des Princes with Alex!
Just back from the United States, Alex rediscovered the perks of living in Paris, the city of his favorite team: Paris Saint-Germain. After many experiences of sports travels in America and Europe, the born and raised parisian wants to make travellers discover the capital through sports.

From the Parc des Princes to Montmartre via the Eiffel Tower, Alex offers the most beautiful visit of Paris for soccer fans. Thanks to Homefans, he earns money by sharing his passion for Paris Saint-Germain. Indeed, Alex offers PSG fans from all over the world the opportunity to experience a game day like a true local.

The Parc des Princes: a stadium with an atmosphere like no other

Alex has been supporting the PSG since he was a child. His best memory of the Parc des Princes is simply his first game. Chance made that moment even more special as his favorite song, I Feel Good by James Brown, came in the speakers as he entered the stadium. Since then, Alex has returned to the stadium with the same passion and above all the desire to share emotions with other fans.

“I go to the stadium first and foremost because I know I’m going to experience great emotions there. My best memories at the Parc are the turnarounds, good and bad. That’s what makes me want to go back game after game.”

Alex, host Homefans PSG

After living in the United States for a while, Alex realized the beauty of European stadiums. The fervor of our fans is miles away from what can be seen elsewhere. On their own, European soccer fans organize themselves to lighten up the games and make themselves heard. This is not something you find in many other sports or in many other stadiums. For him it is the big asset of our European stadiums.

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PSG fans behind the Parc des Princes

Sharing his passion for Paris Saint-Germain with Homefans

Going to live a sports experience abroad is an unforgettable moment. But it’s even better when you fully discover a club and its environment by visiting the best places and going to the best bars around the stadium with local fans.

This is what Alex missed when he went to see a Tottenham game in London. Traveling to London to see a game was a dream. Having local fans with him would have been an opportunity to be fully immersed and to experience the game like a real Londoner. This is what motivated him to join Homefans: to share his passion for Paris, the club and the city. Homefans is the perfect way for him to do that. Homefans is the best marketplace for sports travel. It allows local supporters from the most beautiful sports cities to host game day experiences for sports fans who travel from all over the world. If you want to discover what a game day among a group of Parisians feel like, then Alex’s PSG experience is for you!

La PSG Experience avec Fanstriker@Fanstriker

La PSG Experience avec Fanstriker

Experiencing PSG games like a local Parisian

Soccer fans from all over the world can book a day with Alex to go to the Parc des Princes and discover the city of Paris. It starts with a visit of the most beautiful places in the capital. Then, the PSG fan group will be able to taste the best parisian and french specialities before going to the game. But if the fans use Homefans, it’s above all for pre- and post-game rituals.
According to Alex, the formula for a successful game day is very simple. He only needs a group of friends, a win and a kebab after the game. He is still looking for the best Greek in Paris to add to his list of attractions!

“This is really a dream job! I can share my passion for PSG and Paris with like-minded sports fans. I get to show them the best spot in the city for a sports fan.”

Alex, local host on Homefans

Alex has been a fan of the PSG since a long time before his recent successes. Still he appreciates all the sporting richness that Paris SG has to offer. From Paris FC to Paris Basketball, via the PSG Experience, the capital city is full of exciting sporting events.

Like many cities in France, the parisian sports landscape is rich. It attracts thousands of tourists and enthusiasts every year. You too can offer the most beautiful sports experience in your city. Homefans is a unique opportunity for you to get paid by accompanying foreign fans to your favorite stadium. Just like Alex, you can have become a local host and build a sports experience around your city. This is your chance to get your dream job ! If you want to know more and join the community, just click here! 

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