Flamengo in the USA: Global Strategy or Necessary Exposure?

The Rio de Janeiro-based club announces friendlies against Philadelphia Union and Orlando City as part of their preseason in the United States, aiming to strengthen its presence in the American market
Flamengo v Cruzeiro - Brasileirao 2023
Flamengo v Cruzeiro - Brasileirao 2023 / MB Media/GettyImages

Flamengo, one of the most popular clubs in Brazilian soccer, has set its sights on the United States to expand its brand and bolster its position on the international stage. By unveiling two friendlies against Philadelphia Union and Orlando City as part of its preseason, the Rubro-Negro seeks not only physical and technical preparation but also strategic exposure in a country that will host the Club World Cup in 2025 and the upcoming World Cup.

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The decision to return to the United States, five years after winning the Florida Cup in 2019, seems to be more than a simple sports strategy. The partnership with Philadelphia Union highlights the carioca club's intention to connect with the American audience, especially among the new generations of soccer fans and athletes. The initiative to invite 2,000 children and teenagers to the games not only underscores the pursuit of a physical presence but also reinforces the commitment to sports development among the youth.

CR Flamengo v Fluminense FC - Brasileirao 2023
CR Flamengo v Fluminense FC - Brasileirao 2023 / MB Media/GettyImages

Gustavo Oliveira, Flamengo's Vice President of Communication and Marketing, expresses optimism about the opportunity to consolidate the club's presence in the United States. The digital strategy, coupled with physical presence at the games, suggests a comprehensive approach to win over both long-time fans and younger audiences who may become future Flamengo supporters and athletes.

However, the lingering question is whether this foray into the United States is truly necessary or merely a marketing move to gain international visibility. In a scenario where Brazilian soccer still faces structural and economic challenges, allocating resources to international initiatives raises questions about the club's priorities.

Time will tell whether this venture in the United States will result in tangible gains for Flamengo, be it in terms of expanding the fan base, increasing revenues, or global recognition. For now, the decision to seek international presence appears to reflect the club's ambition to position itself as a global powerhouse, not only on the field but also off it.