Many non-soccer fans in the United States have never heard of the Superclasico between Boca Juniors and River Plate. It is a rivalry started in 1913 between the two Buenos Aires based teams and it is a rivalry that makes any college football rivalry look like a pick up game during elementary school recess.
For instance, this past week, someone burned down his friend’s house because the two supported opposing teams and got in an argument about which was better. Throughout their history, these two rivals have never faced off in the Copa Libertadores final, the premier tournament featuring the best soccer teams in South America. Boca Juniors has six titles, while River Plate have three but neither went against each other for the title until now.
Saturday afternoon [EDIT: Rescheduled to Sunday due to heavy rain] is the first leg of the final. The two Argentinian teams will play in Boca Juniors’ home stadium and then head to River Plate’s home in two weeks. To avoid in-stadium fighting, both teams agreed to ban visiting fans from each venue, keeping up with an agreement that had been in place since 2014. According to the group Salvemos al Futbol, 305 fans have been killed due to fan violence in the past 50 years, which is a big reason for the ban.
One more thing that will take place, because this rivalry can get very stressful and now it’s for even higher stakes than usual, a Uruguayan radio station is going to have a radio feed to help fans with heart conditions listen and hopefully not die of a heart attack because of the final.
According to Clarin and JOE, Radio Colonia will have a calm and soothing radio feed of the Superclasico/Copa Libertadores final to help people with bad hearts. Along with a play-by-play person and an analyst, the two commentators will be joined by a cardiologist throughout the game who will be giving recommendations to listeners so they can lower their heart rate.
In addition, commentators will speak in a calm voice and not scream GOL!!! if someone scores or raise their voice when someone is on attack. Fan chants and stadium atmosphere will be muted and instead calm music will played in the background. Think of it as if NPR sent a crew to broadcast the Super Bowl.
This isn’t a bad idea to have for other sporting events. It seems like every so often, after every high profile sporting event, some diehard fan has to go to the hospital after suffering a heart attack in the final seconds. An alternate feed that allows people to calm down might save lives.