In the 1998 World Cup, Norway beat the world’s best soccer team, Brazil, and moved in on the World Cup. Norway was a major underdog, and beating Brazil was a near impossible task that Norway surprisingly managed. To this day, it is considered one of the greatest achievements in Norwegian soccer history.
Twenty years later, Aftenposten Event decided to recreate the magical match with a star-studded event called the Rematch.
The project was comprehensive and a very high risk. Aftenposten is rather conservative and subtle in its communication, and the idea was particularly innovative and groundbreaking. The project was unique because a rematch had never been done before and Aftenposten is a media house using new platforms to attract and engage new and existing subscribers.
Would we succeed in combining the editorial content with commercial business and build a stronger brand? If so, how could Aftenposten Event create an event that generated massive attention and profitability, and build brand awareness?
Despite the risk, we had both the editorial and commercial support to implement this unique event.
The main challenge was to transform a new idea into a sustainable economic project, onboard some of the world’s most famous soccer profiles, and find a date that suited all players and Aftenposten that was also near the date of the actual World Cup. To reach our goal, we had to coordinate sponsors, collaborators, and all practicalities, such as television production, a venue director, and ticketing.
The objectives boiled down to:
- Creating one of Norway’s most talked about events in 2018.
- Generating massive media coverage outside Aftenposten’s own channels.
- Generating a positive economic result from the event.
- Bringing in new sponsors and partners to the Aftenposten Event department.
- Creating a well-produced, high-quality, feel-good event.
- Including a charity organisation in the project.
- Creating a new arena for our new and existing subscribers.
The communication strategy was to reach out through all media channels by actively using public relations, our partners, and our sponsors to maximise impact to create an event of national relevance with massive attention.
With one year of hard work, we managed to recreate one of the greatest soccer moments in history. From launch to implementation, the Rematch was a project consisting of carefully planned activities that extended over several years of preparation and secrecy. The event was so comprehensive it had a team of more than 20 people working on it on a daily basis. Aftenposten Event was responsible for coordinating the whole team throughout the project.
After just seven hours of general ticket sales, we reached the breakeven point, and the event ended up with an economical ROI of 85.7%. We sold more than 18,500 tickets, which is three times more than the present National Soccer Team currently sells, making it one of the most sold sporting events in Norway in 2018.
As a bonus, we managed to organise a charity warm-up game before the Rematch between a youth team from the Brazilian favela and a Norwegian youth team.
The live TV broadcast of the event with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation was the most watched television programme the week of the event. The programme peaked at 76.9% total market share in Norway.
Six sponsorships were sold, giving sponsors a value of media coverage in Norway (excluding Aftenposten) of more than €1.8 million.
The sponsors were happy with the opportunities the event provided them. For example, the airline company Norwegian flew several of the players from both Norway and Brazil to the match. Many players posted pictures from inside the aircraft to social media, resulting in great brand exposure for Norwegian.
Another sponsor, Yara, which manages large and important collaborative projects in Brazil, invited hundreds of internal guests and had its own party at the soccer stadium during the event. As part of the collaboration, we arranged for them to meet Ronaldo Nazário and Roberto Carlos. This was great branding for Yara.
The launch video received more than 700,000 views on social media, creating several million interactions on posts related to the event. The hashtag #Omkampen (the Rematch in Norwegian) trended on Twitter in Norway during the launch and on the day of the event.
Aftenposten was very clearly labeled as the organiser of the event, and we managed to increase the number of readers throughout the project. This was very effective for brand awareness. As a bonus, the event also had a great effect on the culture at Aftenposten, uniting employees in different parts of the company.