I am a local and I love football, I have gone to Champions League games, to games in Brazil and I even went to a Boca-River game in Buenos Aires. And I still believe that in Medellin we have one of the best football atmospheres in the planet. In my oponion, going to a Football game in Medellin is a must-do, however not all football games in Medellin are worth going to. The quality of our football is not the best, what makes the experience are the fans (particularly the Ultras), that’s the point of the whole experience.
In this article we will answer the following questions:
- Can I get a quick how-to guide?
- Which are the football teams in the city and how to understand each one?
- How many tournaments are in Colombia and which are the important ones?
- How is the stadium divided and which seats to get in order to get away/close to the Ultras?
- How much are the tickets and where to buy them, or whom to contact in order to go on a tour.
1. Quick guide on how to go to a football game in Medellin.
For those who don’t want to read all the details, this is the quick guide on how to go to a football game in Medellin.
- You need to know which team is playing. In the following links you’ll find out the next game of each team. For Medellin (the red-one) click here. For Nacional (the green-one) click here
- Make sure the game is worth it, there are some games that it is not really worth the time and the money as few fans will go to the game
- Next step is getting the tickets. It all depends on which team is playing:
- If Medellin is playing (the red-one) it is super easy: You install their App called DIM Plus (Google Play or Apple Store), get registered and buy the ticket using a credit card and that’s it, the ticket is a QR code.
- If Nacional is playing (the green-on) it’s a bit more tricky: Although they sell the tickets online too, you have to register using only a valid colombian ID, so you need a Colombian or an expat friend with an ID. This is the link
- For any team: You can also buy the tickets at the stadium, but you have to do this at least 8 hours before the game, I am pretty sure they only take Colombian cash and you have to do it on this specific ticket booth.
- For any team: Join a football tour. We recommend MedellinFootball Tour, this is their whatsapp +573174892629
- For any team (very last option): Go to the stadium before the game and try to get tickets from
the scalpers (use this as your very very last option). No matter what game we are talking about, you can ALWAYS get tickets. The question is: How much are you willing to pay?. Please remember that the football ticket are simply QR codes, so the risk of buying from a scalper is that he prints several times the same QR and then sells the same ticket many times. I have not heard of that happening but it is a risk. So please beware.
- Last step is getting into the stadium, which is extremely easy as there is a metro station named ESTADIO. It is located in the line B. The Estadio metro station is about 5 minutes walk from the stadium itself and few hours before the game, the station gets surrounded by hundreds of scalpers selling tickets. Again, use this as your last option.
Last but not least: Do not miss the kick-off, nor the anthems part. That’s the moment when you should record with your cell-phone, especially at the end of the anthem when the whole stadium yells out loud! …goose bumps…
That’s all for the quick guide on how to get to a football game.
2. Football teams in Medellin or which color to wear in a
The first thing to know when going to a football game is knowing which color to wear, and for that you need to know which are the teams in the city and to understand each of them. There are two main football teams in Medellin, simply known as Medellin and Nacional. Below is a little summary of the differences:
|MEDELLIN (DIM)||NACIONAL (NAL)|
|Official Name||Deportivo Independiente Medellin||Atletico Nacional|
|Nicknames||El Rojo, El Poderoso||El Verde, El Rey de Copas|
|How foreigners call it but no one else does (try
not to imitate this behavior)
(up to Feb 2020)
|Stadium||They both use the same one: Estadio Atanasio Girardot|
|Name of its ULTRAS||RXN (Rexixtenxia Norte)||LDS (Los del Sur)|
|Demographics of its fans||There is no pattern|
El Pueblo Clamoroso
A very quick way to understand the relationship between them is thinking of Everton and Liverpool or Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid (keeping the proportions, obviously).
I am not a fan of either so what I am about to say is not biased: Nacional is well organized and it’s owned by one the most powerful enterprise-group of the country, so they have a fat wallet: They hire good players and managers, they pay well, they win tournaments and the wheel keeps turning. The have won the Copa Libertadores twice (our version of Champions League, the most prestigious tournament on the continent). The consequence is that their fans might be a bit obnoxious. They have more big rivals in the country, particularly Millonarios from Bogota and America from Cali (special section).
Medellin, on the other hand, is kind of the opposite to all that, but still their fans are super passionate and they tend to enjoy every second as they are used to winning things in the very last minute. They even say «suffering makes part of our DNA»
3. Which tournaments are there, and which are important.
This part is a bit tricky as there are local and (potentially) international tournaments, but it is important to understand this in order to choose well which football game to go. It all starts with two local tournaments that change their full names each year but basically can be called:
- La Liga: This is the important one. It is played twice a year from January to June (Apertura) and again from July to December (Finalización), meaning there is a new champion every semester. Each football game of this tournament is played mostly during the weekends. It is the most prestigious one as it’s the one that puts a star on the emblem, plus each champion qualifies directly to the Copa Libertadores (the continental championship).
- La Copa: This is less important, acutally rather lame. One year long and the games are played during the week days. Honestly, it is not really important and not many fans go to the stadium during the year because the teams use young players and they play against teams that are from the second division. This situation changes if the team has chances to win the tournament at the end of the year (October, November, December). If this is the case, more people go to the games and it is worth going.
- Super Liga: Just two games in the first two months of the year, between the two champions of La Liga from the previous year.
Now for the international championships. In order for Medellín to host any football game as a part of those tournaments, it is necessary for either of the local teams to have qualified for one of them, obviously. There are two of them:
- Copa Libertadores: The most prestigious of the continent, it’s the equivalent to the Champions League in Europe. Usually played on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
- Copa Suramericana: Not as prestigious as the last one, but still important. It is the equivalent to the UEFA Europa League in Europe. Usually played on Thursdays.
4. How is the stadium divided and which seats to get in order to get away/close to the Ultras.
Both teams use the same stadium called Estadio Atanasio Girardot, also known by locals as “El Estadio” or “El Atanasio”. It fits approximately 44,000 people and is very conveniently located next to the Metro station ESTADIO.
There are seven types of tickets – we’ll go into the details of pricing in a bit. Only two tickets give you access to the roofed area. Below you will find a diagram and list with brief explanations.
- Numerada (Platinum): Located right below the roof and has a perfectly central view of the pitch, but this is the most expensive section. The number on your ticket will be respected and no one else will take your seat. Doesn’t have the most exciting atmosphere though.
- Occidental alta (Upper West): Also located below the roof and provides a great view of the pitch. It’s
worth going there in the rainy season (believe me, it’s worth it!). Heads up though, avoid getting tickets too close to SOUTH or NORTH, you also get wet there while paying triple the price of the neighboring sections.
- Occidental baja (Lower West): It gives you the same view as Oriental baja on the opposite side of the pitch but is about 35% more expensive, plus you also get wet there if it rains. For me it is not worth paying more for the same.
- Oriental alta (Upper East): This is my personal favorite, it gives you an amazing view of the pitch and
the mountains of Medellin. Plus, the atmosphere is very cool, and depending on the game you can choose whether to sit closer or further away from the Ultras, which gives you a nice flexibility.
- Oriental baja (Lower East): It is slightly cheaper than the Oriental alta, you are closer to the players
but not too close, also great atmosphere and when it rains you might have the chance to move away from your seats and find some shelter.
- Sur (South): Together with Norte this is the cheapest option. When Nacional plays, this is where the ultras of Nacional (Los Del Sur) go, so don’t expect to be able to sit and watch the game peacefully. There will be drums, horns, anthems and lots of singing and jumping. It could be a lot of fun but you have to be mentally prepared for the energy of the ultras, which can be quite intense (in both a positive and
negative sense). If you want to go there, we definitely recommend going as part of a tour (see section below).
- Norte (North): Same as Sur in terms of price and atmosphere – only difference is that when Medellin plays, this is the side the ultras of Medellin (La Rexixtenxia Norte) choose to go.
5. How much are the tickets and where to buy them, or whom to contact in order to go on a tour.
The prices very much depend on which seat you choose, on which team is playing and which tournament the football game makes part of. So instead of giving you a list of prices I give you a rough reference system for the local tournament, implemented on the image above.
||Approx price in COP by April 2022|
|$||20.000 – 35.000 (usually monopolized by scalpers)|
|$$||35.000 – 50.000|
|$$$||50.000 – 65.000|
|$$$$||65.000 – 85.000|
|$$$$$||85.000 – 95.000|
|$$$$$$||95.000 and beyond|
Going to a football game is a social activity, if you are travelling on your own I highly recommend you taking a tour. If you want to avoid the hassle of choosing and buying, go on a tour. If you really want to be with the ultras, go on a tour.
We usually recommend our customers to contact MedellinFootball Tour this is their whatsapp +573174892629. Please do not take me wrong, we do not get commission; they don’t even know we are writing this blog post, we just trust their experience and the quality of what they do.
We hope this was useful and that you enjoy the football game!