With eight rounds left in South America’s most prominent football league, a familiar (and perhaps expected) scenario is imminently unfolding – Sao Paulo giants Palmeiras, holders of a record nine Brazilian league championships are incredibly close (70% according to experts) in attaining their tenth such title.
Aside from having the most squad depth and quality out of all the Brazilian teams in the first division, there are fundamental elements behind the scenes that make their success even more plausible.
Below, I’ll state three reasons why I think the league leaders are poised to win not only the league, but probably the continental Copa Libertadores as well, where they’re semifinalists again for the first time in 17 years:
1-) Financial Independence: Palmeiras are living their most financially stable moment in recent history, reminiscent to those famed mid-to-late 1990’s “Parmalat Era”. In ticket sales alone, a record R$58.2 million (Brazilian Reais) has been acquired this season. The re-arrival of legendary club coach Luiz Felipe Scolari complemented by a phenomenal season has essentially allowed the club to inflate ticket prices to an exorbitant R$93 per person average – the highest ever seen. Yet, fans aren’t complaining, as long as positive results keep on coming. Broadcasting rights? Add another R$140 million to their pockets. All being made especially possible through their sponsor Crefisa, a major Brazilian bank that has injected hundreds of millions since the partnership was birthed in 2015.
2-) Successful stadium: Having the continent’s largest city’s best located and highly modern (to European standards) arena proved to be an uphill battle for Palmeiras. But the dust (beef) with WTorre, the company that built the Allianz Parque has finally settled due to reasons already aforementioned in the previous paragraph. The result – a fair and tolerant, non-invasive sharing of revenue where WTorre won a slice of the new stadium’s naming rights (sold for R$300 million for a twenty-year period), plus cash from VIP suites, musical concert revenue, etc.
3-) Paying members program: Another source of success is the ever rising number of paying club members who earn the right to ticket pre-sales and other amenities; right now, Palmeiras has the nation’s third largest number of “socios” at 130.000, but yet they’re still able to charge a higher fee than the top two (Sao Paulo & Gremio).
All in all, pundits and colleagues alike state that only a very peculiar course of events could snatch the tenth league title from the hands of Palmeiras. The question, however, isn’t only if they can win their second league title in the last three years, but if they can, in unprecedented fashion, win the Brazilian League AND the Copa Libertadores. A lot will be answered in two days (Oct/24) they’ll be in South America’s most ruthless venue, La Bombonera, battling perhaps the continent’s most mythical club, Boca Juniors for the first continental semifinal leg.