Heineken UEFA Champions League

By Kidus Assefa, June 01, 2019

On Saturday, 01 June, football fans around Addis Ababa and other regions got the chance to watch the 2018/2019 season UEFA Champions League Final through the 23 simultaneous match viewing experiences launched by Heineken. Ronaldinho last year, a stadium this time.

Besides the furnished bars in some of the most luxurious hotels in Addis, Heineken created a match viewing experience like no other. Among these match viewings, however, the crown jewel was the one that took place which took at the Sheraton Addis hotel. As part of its #Unmissable campaign this year, Heineken sought to bring the whole match experience of the Madrid stadium to Sheraton for the event’s invited guests.

“So, what made this unique?” you may ask. The event was special because it created anticipation leading to the game with the unusual finalists that made it to the big stage by surpassing the expectations against the odds. The fact that both Liverpool & Tottenham have strong fan bases in Ethiopia also added to the heat of the conversation across town.

“You won’t miss anything on our watch!” was the underlining promise when Heineken launched the project, promising football lovers the ultimate #unmissible experience.

Looking behind the curtains, though, allows one to see just how challenging it was to pull off such an audacious task of building a whole mini stadium. Owing to the fact that Sheraton Addis was the venue of choice, the organizing team had one short week to set up a match viewing area on an empty parking lot, and had to start everything from scratch. With the chance of heavy rain pouring and time running out, the last few days leading up to the big game were quite challenging and full of hustle. Another reason that made the planned event stand out was the scale and grandiosity of the task at hand. The workers were building a stadium-like platform with rising levels that give an arrangement capable of seating over 1,200 passionate football fans. In addition to that, the game was going to be shown on an 11-by-6-meters screen, the first of its kind in the country, with a surround sound system that mimics being there in the actual stadium itself.

After days had gone by with the sound & display being tested, the whole venue started to take shape & show-time was looming on the horizon. While all preparations were being made, tickets were being distributed, and guests were receiving invitations. There were also ticket giveaways kept the momentum forward.

At long last the day had arrived & millions across the world were ready to watch the final moment of Europe’s biggest football competition. This was the epic decider of who would reign supreme in the UEFA champions’ league and the stakes were as high as they could have possibly been. With only a few hours left till kickoff and the whole venue complete, the food ready and beer cooled, people started to enter & enjoy the pre-match activities like little Foosball games & mini- tournaments, live DJ music (curated by DJ Mitmitta) & a dinner buffet. As time went on and the final countdown to the game began, the barren parking lot-turned-stadium was filled with guests ready for an action-packed 90 minutes (potentially more). Everything the finalists had worked for led to this, all of Heineken’s efforts to bring football lovers another #UNMISSABLE experience had led to this. And so the match began and the reality that one is part of this whole experience had started to sink in the hearts of the attendees. Everyone was excited for what lay ahead. But a sudden twist occurred when Liverpool was awarded a surprising penalty with only a few seconds under way tilting the match to their advantage.  Though Liverpool won a well-deserved trophy, and Tottenham were just sad runners up, for all who were there at Sheraton, what really mattered, after all, was the experience. With its usual quality to details and its ambition to bring what’s best, Heineken lived up to its words to bring the real Champion League, unmissable moment, thrill to our doorsteps.