How Not To Go To A Boca Juniors Game

Quick Link: Get Boca Juniors Tickets. Now, onto our story…

The one thing every tourist guidebook recommends that you do when you come to Buenos Aires is to go to a Boca Juniors soccer game. Well, Sunday was the first time we had a chance to catch a match, and it was pretty exciting.  The crowd is completely fanatic and the singing and enthusiasm is something you have to experience.  I would recommend buying tickets in advance or even from a ticket broker who picks you up and takes you there, rather than going with the method we stumbled into…

We only decided a couple of hours before game time that we wanted to go, so we rushed out to our friends’ apartment in San Telmo and then all six of us walked over to the stadium together.  We ended up at the back entrance of the stadium where they were letting cars through, and proceeded to ask the staff working there where we could buy tickets (using our rudimentary Spanish).  Well, it turns out that we were completely on the wrong side of the stadium and they pointed us to a long walk around a park to the other side of the stadium in order to buy tickets. They also told us that reserved seating was not on sale on game days and that we would only be able to get general admission seating. (I don’t know whether this was true or not.) Hmmm… We started to debate our options. One of the workers was kind enough to warn us about scalpers and fake tickets too – and then proceed to say that he could get us legitimate seats for $100 pesos each.

We decided to have a group debate on the subject that basically went like this: “Well, he works here, so he’ll only have legit tickets.” “How much do tickets actually cost? Is $100 too much?” “We should just walk to the other side.” “Hmmm…I dunno.”  Yes, it quickly became apparent that we had not done enough research.  We thanked him and decided to walk to the closer side of the stadium (not where they had originally pointed us) since we saw a lot of people going that way and…well, who knows what we thought. Of course, once we made the 10-15 minute walk there, we found only another entrance and no ticket sales. Once again, we were pointed to the long walk around the stadium. (It seems they only sell tickets at one location.)

We started to walk back the way we came – grabbing a chorizo sandwich and Fanta along the way – and came across our “friend” who had offered to get us tickets. At this point, it was getting closer to game time, so we decided to see what he could do.  We tried to negotiate for $500 pesos (which didn’t work) and he told us to wait off to the side for 10 minutes while he got us tickets. Once again, the group discussion started: “Is this legit?” “Are we paying too much?” “We should just walk around to the other side.” “What if they are sold out?” “I don’t want general admission.” Ok, group consensus – let’s wait the 10 minutes and see what happens.  During that time, we saw another couple (who spoke Spanish) negotiate and get 2 tickets. We watched them walk into the game with no problem. Ok, good news…the tickets worked for them!  We’ll wait for ours.

After 10 minutes, our friend came back up to us with an empty Marlboro cigarette box. “Ok, put the $600 pesos in the box and we’ll get you in. We have to do this now.” Hmmm…well, we did see the other couple get in and they spoke better Spanish than us… We complied since game time was fast approaching. We started to walk with him.  Two other guys who appeared to work there approached us, “Ok, come with us,” they said. “Wait, where are our tickets?” we asked.  “No, no, we’re going to walk you to your seats.” Oh-oh. Well, we had come this far, so there was no going back now.

They flashed their ID badges to the guys at the first ticket checkpoint and walked all 6 of us in.  Once inside that first area, they split us into twos.  They gave Mersal and Kim a paper ticket and told them to walk through the main ticket line. They told James and me to walk with the one guy and Scott and John to wait there with the other guy.  We now approached the second ticket check point, and once again, he flashed his ID and walked James and me in.  The girls went through the ticket gate. Now we were inside, and he then walked all 4 of us through another checkpoint to the reserved seating area. He tried to tell us to keep moving, but we wanted to wait to make sure John and Scott got it. He left us to go back out. 10 minutes later, there was still no sign of Scott or John. We started to get a little worried – they had our $600 pesos and here we were standing alone outside the stadium as part of something that was now obviously a little shady.

Luckily, John and Scott did show up with the guy (it turned out he also needed to walk them in), and we then approached the final ticket checkpoint where tickets are once again scanned.  They walked us to the turnstiles, scanned the tickets and their ID badges, and made us go through two at a time. It was a tight fit, but no one working there or in line seemed to pay us much attention.  Ok, we’re through that. Now, where are our seats?  We turned around waiting for them to come show us our seats, but they had disappeared back into the crowd. Hmmm…ok, I guess we’re on our own now.

We walked up to the top of the stadium, entered the first section we came to, and sat down. Luckily, it looked like seats were not reserved and there was still plenty of room. I think we made it! Whew!  The game was about to start so we bought some drinks to cool down. That’s about the time Scott realized that he had a wad of $600 pesos still in his pocket.  He had put the wad of cash from his other pocket in the cigarette box – only $200 pesos! Oops…it was a total mistake, but at this point, there wasn’t much we could do. We wondered if our “friend” would be upset and come looking for us, but this stadium was huge, so we doubted it and went back to watching the game.

Just after half-time, we looked over and saw our “friend” scanning the stands. We waved to him and Mersal and Scott went out to meet him and explain what happened.  It turned out he wasn’t the least bit upset – he just had to pay his friends as well. He even told us to come see him next time we wanted to get in!

I think next time we’ll buy legitimate tickets before the game…

UPDATE: A lot of people seem to find this page in Google and ask about how to get tickets. Unfortunately, the only real way that foreigners are going to get tickets are through a tour group. Tickets are not sold at the gate, and the locals are well aware of the value of these tickets. A friend of ours runs a website that sells tour packages for Boca Juniors games. I’d highly recommend them as I know that they are very reputable and will get you to and from the game with no problems.

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  • gilbert

    lol. Glad you guys had a happy ending. Did your section fill up? Did any fights break out?

  • DaVe

    Gilbert – yep, it filled up and we did have to move seats once, but that was it. No fights. It was all relatively calm, though a lot of people in our section kept climbing the barrier into the section next to us with better seats.

  • Esteban

    You are very brave to be dealing with those guys – very dodgy indeed. I guess you have a good understanding of how corrupted Argentina is. Good luck!!!

  • PaulJ

    Great post! Were you up in the skies with the other tourists or did you sit with the 'hard-core' fans?

    Here's my own experience of going to watch Boca Juniors. Enjoy!
    http://www.mytravelbug.co.uk/the-greatest-soccer-

  • We just stood in line hoping to get some tickets, no luck. What are some legit ways besides "Boca Juniors Experience" ? Your story is awesome! We would have been so nervous if in the same situation.

    • DaVe

      I know there are brokers that sell them, but I have heard that you can wait in line for tickets. Of course, I have no idea how that is actually done!

  • Gilad

    Yeah, get tickets to Boca Juniors games can be problematic, more than everything in the stadium itself, I tried that one time and was left without a ticket, and my money…. The next time I used the services of a website where you can book online football tours to all major soccer games in Buenos Aires, I was very satisfied with the service I received that included transport, pizza and beer before the game, a guide and a ticket, even though the price I paid was more than the cost you mention in this article.

  • Roseanna

    Hey, can I ask what was the name of the agent you used, I am planning a trip next year, so want to make sure I get to get a game ..
    The stories I have read dont put me off, and defo worth a few small risks to get to go in…huge soccer fan ..enjoying the Copa America at the mo

  • leandrozu

    Hey, i lived a similar situation today (5/17/2012) in Boca juniors x fluminense in Copa Santander Libertadores, but we bought the tickets trought a store near our hotel, one guy came pick up us and we went to a bar where we drink soda and ate some pizza (included in original prize), after this, we went to La bombonera (Boca Juniors Stadium) but in the way, a girl called Victoria told us that our "Popular Tickets" doesn't exist and we are going to enter the stadium with her because she has "contacts" in the stadium. We got a huge line, and passed some police mans with no problem (always beside her), but when we got near the stadium, she made us go out and we went to the other side of stadium in a new entrance.. in this entrance, we passed again throught the polices and two new guys appeared to help her, they gave us just two tickets (We were a group of seven) and suddenly the policies started to check the names of the tickets, of course our names weren't in the tickets!!!! to finish the "terror movie" we didn't saw the game, the van send us back to our hotel and we had to ask our money back in the store near the hotel (Where we innitialy bought the coupon to see the game). For my surprise, we can get our money back, but we missed the game, and this terrible day make my fiance very sad, we planned a lot to go to this game!! I Believe this trick can happen only in popular area, because in the "platea média" and "platea alta", you need to have a ticket, all the other guys in the van had a ticket for them. We paid R$450 reais in the ticket, about 1000 pesos. The lady argue that this only happen because there were a lot of fiscals in the game. I Lost one trip day, i lost a game, i feel very disconfortable of being cheated. I wont recommend to watch a boca juniors game. Another people bought the ticket in the hotel, and in the Calle Florida, a lot of Travel agency offered tickets for a little prize difference. If you want to watch a Boca Juniors Game, take care with fake tickets and Tickets who never exisisted.

    • mccomb

       @leandrozu There are a lot of scams about Boca Juniors tickets right now. The only way for tourists to get tickets is through a legitimate travel company. Unfortunately, they are really expensive…

  • Jason

    I’m going to try and get in the same way you did. What side is your “friend” located? You got in and sat in the best section of the stadium, why do you call it “how not to go to a boca game”?

    • mccomb

      This was about 3 years ago now and I know they’ve improved security a bit. Good luck with it though… The only other option seems to be to buy tickets from a tour group and they’re quite expensive – tickets for the Boca v River game last week were going for $1050 pesos!