UEFA's foremost club competition continues to sprinkle stardust far beyond its constituent teams and even beyond this season's group stage boundaries thanks to the resounding success of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, presented by UniCredit.
The UEFA Champions League trophy – or European Champion Clubs' Cup – made a four-week tour of Europe this autumn, pulling in huge crowds at every stop. The high-profile event was presented by UniCredit for the first time as part of a three-year partnership.
A total of 91,900 members of the general public came to see the 'trophy with the big ears' as it called in on 15 cities, spanning five countries, over the course of 27 days.
Football fans in Italy (Milan), Croatia (Split, Rijeka, Osijek and Zagreb), Romania (Arad, Timisoara, Sibiu, Brasov, Pitesti and Bucharest), Hungary (Budapest) and Bulgaria (Ruse, Sofia and Pleven) were able to share in the magic of the UEFA Champions League – a fact borne out by the number of official complimentary pictures taken of fans together with the coveted trophy: 22,462.
The presence at each of the venues of a Trophy Tour ambassador resulted in autograph as well as photo opportunities for the supporters, for whom the tour was designed to be an unforgettable football experience. The trophy certainly kept illustrious company, with ambassadorial duties being taken by: Luís Figo, Franco Baresi, Daniele Massaro, Slaven Bilić, Helmuth Duckadam, Christian Karembeu, Allan Simonsen, Peter Schmeichel and Krassimir Balakov.
The Trophy Tour village operated as a travelling exhibition which, when set up in each city, brought to life the rich tradition of the UEFA Champions League via displays of unique films, images and memorabilia. Football games and activities also featured at many of the venues encouraging fans to play the beautiful game themselves.
Glamour and excitement
With the help of the ambassadors, who were often part of that city's football heritage, as well as the local authorities, the tour conveyed the glamour and excitement of Europe's stellar club competition to an ever-widening audience. Supporters also had the chance to register online for VIP or fast-tracked entrance to the tour village, an option some 16,861 enthusiasts took up.
The UEFA Champions League trophy is sought after by the world's best players and the continent's major clubs – and its trip through Europe gave fans a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to get close to a unique piece of football silverware. Next season the Trophy Tour will once again embark on a journey through Eastern Europe, visiting new countries and thousands more football lovers.
Click to watch video highlights from each of the tour stages: Italy, Croatia, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria.
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