Soccer mania hits Berkeley, as do crowds, traffic

Around 62,000 people watched Inter Milan beat Real Madrid at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Julia Flynn Siler

Around 62,000 people watched Inter Milan beat Real Madrid at Cal Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Julia Flynn Siler

Soccer mania hit Berkeley on Saturday when Real Madrid played Inter Milan at Cal Memorial Stadium, in a game that drew more than 62,000 spectators. Inter Milan and Real Madrid tied 1-1. Then, after regulation time, Inter Milan won 3-2 in a penalty shootout.

The game practically paralyzed the streets of Berkeley as fans tried to make their way to the stadium. Traffic came to a standstill all over town on major arteries like College, Claremont, Ashby and University avenues.

Still, people were thrilled to watch these two professional soccer teams compete, even if many of the top players did not participate.

Crowds gathered early to for  members of Real Madrid to leave the Hotel Shattuck Plaza. Photo: Ted Friedman

Crowds gathered early to watch members of Real Madrid leave the Hotel Shattuck Plaza. Photo: Ted Friedman

Fans lined the streets of Berkeley. Photo: Ted Friedman

Fans lined the streets of Berkeley. Photo: Ted Friedman

Members of Real Madrid exit  Hotel Shattuck Plaza. Photo: Ted Friedman

Members of Real Madrid exit Hotel Shattuck Plaza. Photo: Ted Friedman

The traffic on many streets was bumper to bumper, including on Ashby and Claremont Avenues. Residents reported that fans parked two miles away from the stadium and walked to avoid the traffic jams. Photo: Ted Friedman

The traffic on many streets was bumper to bumper, including on Ashby and Claremont avenues. Residents reported that fans parked 2 miles away from the stadium and walked to avoid the traffic jams. Photo: Ted Friedman

This restaurant was so overwhelmed by the crowds that it shut its doors. Photo: Ted Friedman

A restaurant so overwhelmed by crowds that it shut its doors. Photo: Ted Friedman

The view was great from Tightwad Hill. Photo: Ted Friedman

The view was great from Charter (“Tightwad”) Hill. Photo: Ted Friedman

The game begins. Photo: Ted Friedman

The game begins. Photo: Ted Friedman

Soccer mania hit Berkeley on Saturday when Real Madrid played Inter Milan at Cal Memorial Stadium. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

Soccer mania hit Berkeley on Saturday when Real Madrid played Inter Milan at Cal Memorial Stadium. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

Crowds flow down Bancroft Avenue after the soccer game. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

Crowds flow down Bancroft Avenue after the soccer game. Photo: Siciliana Trevino

Watch a video by Real Madrid of Gareth Bale’s day:

Watch 60,000 fans doing “the wave” in Cal Memorial stadium (be ready to mute it; it’s loud):

Real Madrid and Inter Milan, penalty kicks at UC Berkeley:

Related:
Traffic delays expected in Berkeley with soccer game (07.25.14)
With big soccer game approaching, Cal addresses impacts  (07.18.14)
Real Madrid to play Inter Milan (on grass!) in Berkeley (05.13.04)

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  • FiatSlug

    It seems that the soccer match overwhelmed Berkeley’s Southside. Northside was not overwhelmed; it was largely unaffected more than a mile from Cal Memorial.

    It seems that the difference between this crowd and a Cal football crowd was that the soccer fans were more concentrated around campus, or south of campus or downtown. I’ve seen much more activity on Northside for a Cal football gameday with similar attendance.

  • guest

    More people at this that aren’t familiar with the city. I know several people from San Francisco who never come out to Berkeley who came to go to this game.

  • Bill N

    There were lots of fans downtown too – and probably lots of parking tickets since I saw more than on fan parking their car at a meter about 2:30.

  • Rachel Anderson

    It was an experience & I’m glad Berkeley got to host it. Bale’s goal was terrific to witness live and helped offset the extreme heat (where is Karl the Fog when you actually need and want him?) and the truly epic communication/implementation breakdowns between Cal and the GICC/RelEvent Sports around what was not allowed in the stadium.

    I saw the Everton v. Juventus match at AT&T park last year where maybe 25K+ fans showed up. Real Madrid may have a bigger fan base but the 62K+ fans that showed up a year later at Cal suggests that this professional soccer thing is only growing in the US (or at least the Bay Area.) Woot!

  • Guest

    One wonders why so many people drove rather than parking at one of the BART stations (almost always really easy to do on a Saturday), BARTing to downtown Berkeley, and strolling up through campus to the stadium. That would have been a cheaper and much-less-stressful way to do it, I’d think.

  • Carter Tomassi

    Great coverage!

  • Bill N

    I was walking down University about 11 AM and saw a truck loaded with rolled turf headed out of town. Back to astroturf!

  • Raise Love Lower Haight

    trust me, bart was packed!

  • Raise Love Lower Haight

    Great match! I’m glad to see football (yeah, I said it) getting some real praise here in the US.

  • FiatSlug

    That’s what I figured when I read a Tweet from someone complaining that his neighborhood (about 3 miles from campus) was being parked up by soccer fans on Saturday just a short time ahead of the game.

    That doesn’t happen on a Cal football Saturday in the fall. If Cal football sells out for a game in the fall, football fans will park well north of campus in my neighborhood. I saw no noticeable impact that afternoon in my neighborhood.

    I guess there’s not much of an overlap between soccer fans and Cal football fans.

  • Guest

    …still time to schedule a few music concerts before the start of Football season… Go Bears!

  • Sarah

    Cal did a HORRIBLE job of managing the event. I’ve been a football season ticket holder for about 10 years and I have a lot of experience at the stadium. That being said, I’ve never had to deal with so much ridiculousness.

    1. The gates opened at 1:30pm. My party and I arrived at 1:45 and only Main Gate and one gate on the left side of the stadium were open. The lines were extremely long and the area was absolutely packed. When we tried to walk around to gate 7 by going up a side street, we were turned around and directed back to the main gate. We ended up cutting through the parking lot next to I-House and going in through gate 5. It was open, but because of a bunch of gates that were put up, there wasn’t much room. Security finally ended up removing the gates/barricades and allowing people to enter through gate 5. For an event where over 62,000 tickets were sold, this was unsafe and unacceptable. All gates should have been open. Had there been any sort of emergency, people would have been trampled.

    2. Nowhere on the tickets did it say that purses were not allowed into the event. It said “no backpacks.” There were no announcements being made to people in line, so most women had to get all the way to the front in order to find out they had to turn around, walk to the I-House, and stand in another crazy long line to check their bags. The tickets should have a size listed on the ticket. Many of the employees were extremely stressed out and were yelling at attendees because the women were questioning them. The employees were left to eyeball what was acceptable and this led to inconsistencies that were picked up on quickly by everyone in line.

    3. The woman checking my friends ticket scanned it twice. I watched her. It beeped once, then she did it again. She then told my friend that she couldn’t enter because her ticket had already been used. When we tried to explain what happened, she started yelling and screaming at my friend. It was ridiculous. When a supervisor came to talk to us, she told us that this happens sometimes and that it wasn’t a big deal. This could be solved if the scanning devices could show the time of each ticket scan.

  • Drive ‘n Pay

    Well, I’ll tell you this – I didn’t ask drivers why they decided to drive. I just ask them if they’re willing to pay $50 to park in my garage and walk a mile uphill to the stadium.

    9 drivers said “yes”

  • Completely_Serious

    I might add that we brought some empty water bottles to fill up at the water fountains. We were forced to either throw them out or stand in an hour long line at I-House to check them. We tossed them and had to pay $5 for a bottle of water. Tickets said, “No large containers.”

    Mrs. Serious was told she couldn’t bring her small bag in (with id, car keys, money, chapstik and sunscreen for Serious Junior I and Serious Junior II. So she just walked to a different gate and was let in.

    NOT managed like a CAL game, for sure.

    And the worst of it? We sat in Section S and not a SINGLE person wearing a red shirt got rolled up.

  • aroldo de bahia

    Great to have the event in Berkeley but it was the most unorganized event I have ever been to. Half the people didn’t get in until halftime because so few people were checking tickets. No where on the ticket did it say what entry gate should be used. It is unfortunate that football games aren’t as impressive and everyone shows up not at the same time.

    Also there were no announcers or info on which players were even on the field. For all the money that was made on a sellout with expensive tickets I would expect more.

    So who did actually make all the money???? Ronaldo in his bikini thong back on the beach in Portugal???

    Missed the Bale goal, the lone highlight….still glad I went and hope to see more in the future…

  • Waterside

    A lot of the Cal Bears fans are Cal alum so walking in from Northside along the twisty, scenic streets is part of the nostalgia of visiting campus and going to a football game.

  • Thorn A. Fusco

    Gridlock // idiots bring 1970s NYC to the Bay… cant believe how bad it was .. If you cant make it DONT GO