A New Football Theme Park Is Coming to PortAventura

September 14, 2020, 8:27 PM · One of Europe's largest theme parks will invest €150 million in new attractions themed to the world's most popular sport.

PortAventura World will partner with Spain's LaLiga on a three-phase development that kicks off (sorry!) with "The Beat Challenge," an app-based game that the park called "a multidisciplinary experience constructed around unique storytelling."

The home for The Beat Challenge inside the park will be a new LaLiga-themed restaurant and shop. An accompanying licensing deal will make PortAventura World the official theme park partner for LaLiga in Europe and Russia over the next 15 years.

"The Beat Challenge not only brings together PortAventura World with a leader in the sphere of sporting events and entertainment, but will also project PortAventura World beyond the resort, reaching homes, cities and football stadiums across Spain. In addition, the agreement includes the possibility of exporting the project to other countries, as a model of excellence in the area of technology, sports entertainment and tourism," PortAventura World Managing Director David Garcia said.

PortAventura's concept art shows The Beat Challenge anchored in a new Lighthouse-themed building on the park's Mediterrània area, making it one of the highest-profile locations in Port Aventura.

The Beat Challenge concept art
Concept art courtesy PortAventura

After a €10 million investment in the app and restaurant, the park has committed to a €40 million second phase including a new LaLiga-themed attraction in Port Aventura, followed by a €100 million third phase bringing a new LaLiga theme park to the PortAventura World resort.

This will not be the Spanish resort's first sports-themed development. In 2017, PortAventura World opened its Ferrari Land theme park. The addition of attractions themed to Spain's football league will help make PortAventura a world leader in sports-themed theme park entertainment. There's no timeline yet for the new attractions.

Replies (5)

September 14, 2020 at 9:03 PM

If this actually materializes the way your article says its supposed to that's a damn shame. I have been to Port Aventura and making the Ferrari area a whole "theme park" is one of the most obvious shameless money grabs I have ever seen. Another huge plot of real estate and upcharge dedicated to being a giant commercial is not what this place needs.

September 15, 2020 at 9:36 AM

It will be interesting to see if this venture ever actually reaches "Phase 3". La Liga is obviously super popular, particularly in Catalonia (near Barcelona) where Port Aventura is located, but the always problematic issue with sports-based IP is that for every fan of a specific team, there's at least someone else that dislikes or even hates/despises said team. Framing the land around an entire league is probably the right way to go, but fans of smaller clubs are always going to feel slighted by the larger clubs featuring more prominently in the attractions.

When I covered the opening of Steel Curtain last year at Kennywood, Steelers Country had yet to open, and even by the end of last season, the park had yet to fully open the first major theme park land based on an American sports team. However, even given the fanaticism of the Steelers in Pittsburgh, I wonder whether a team sports-based IP land can actually work in a theme park. Obviously Port Aventura is willing to give it a shot, and is probably being given a bit of a sweetheart deal in the midst of the current economic carnage where sports leagues are grabbing at every penny they can get their hands on to make up for the lost revenue from 2+ months of no games and the resumption of play with empty (or significantly reduced capacity) stadiums. Broadcasters have already started demanding refunds for lost inventory/revenue from the delayed/cancelled fixtures in the spring, placing clubs and leagues in situations where they have to sign partnership/sponsorship deals below market rate just to payback the networks or ensure that future rights deals are not reduced.

September 15, 2020 at 11:10 AM

Got excited when I saw “Football Theme Park”! But then I realized it was in Europe which translates to soccer. Bleh.

September 15, 2020 at 1:44 PM

Yeah, Robert probably should have used "Futball", but as headline writers are apt to do these days, he went for the clickbait. It did sound like Jerry Jones was close to perhaps striking a deal with SFoT for NFL licensing in the park down the street from Jerry-World. However, there hasn't been much smoke from that rumor since the pandemic started.

I'm still skeptical that even an NFL-branded theme park experience can work. Even before the pandemic, the NBA Experience at Disney Springs was not getting great word of mouth, and anecdotal evidence about the experience painted a bleak picture. Again, I never got a chance to see Steelers Country at Kennywood (though Steel Curtain is a world class coaster), and there are few reports about what the experience is like, but I wonder if a sport-IP driven land/attraction can really be successful.

September 15, 2020 at 3:43 PM

Everybody but Disney realized the NBA Experience was a huge waste. I hope the building can be easily converted to something when it inevitably shuts down permanently.

Now, if they could recreated “The Michael Vick Experience” faux theme park ride from the 2004 Nike commercial, then you have an E-ticket attraction!

https://youtu.be/5Oag8iBB7HE

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