This is how it looked five years ago: – Extreme transformation

ULLEVAAL STADIUM (VG) Two of the national team’s biggest stars are a gold mine for the NFF. Against Cyprus there will be 20,000 more fans than five years ago.

– Many come to see Norway, but many also come to see it.

National team manager Ståle Solbakken talks about his biggest star.

Erling Braut Haaland is in the national team before games against Scotland on Saturday and Cyprus on Tuesday.

Both matches are sold out.

This is in stark contrast to the meeting with Cyprus in the Nations League five years ago. 5172 spectators were present to see the national team win 2-0 after two goals from Stefan Johansen.

Haaland is not in the squad. Martin Ødegaard spent the entire game on the bench.

Sander Berge played the match. When we ask the question “What happened?” midfielder no doubt a big difference.

– Erling Braut Haaland and Martin Ødegaard are possible. That is fun. It’s a big boost, we realize that too, Berge told VG.

– This is an extreme transformation. Everyone has lifted and gotten stronger, and then we have two world stars which makes it a different matter. They set the standard and lifted us all too, says Berge.

Ståle Solbakken agrees:

– The Cyprus match was sold out and that has never happened before. Previously, people had waited and watched the Scotland game and then there was the 8,000 game against Cyprus. But that is precisely because we have two players on a higher shelf, said the national team manager.

The viewer boom was also visible in the NFF’s bank accounts. In accounts from 2022, the association is listed with ticket revenue of under NOK 27 million.

The same figure for 2018 is 8.7 million.

– We are measuring interest in our national team on an ongoing basis, and interest in A-men and A-women has never been higher, wrote associate marketing director Runar Pahr Andresen in an email to VG.

– Our national team is characterized by a strong collective and they are stronger together, but of course there is something very special about superstars like Haaland and Ødegaard. “It is clear that it is very exciting to come to a game when some of the best footballers in the world are playing with the flag on their chest,” he continued.

The account also shows that revenue from collaboration agreements has increased by more than NOK 30 million from 2018 to 2022.

– The NFF has long-term agreements with our partners that last for several years, so individual players do not have a direct effect on our cooperation agreements. Nevertheless, we are benefiting from a strong growing interest in Norwegian football in general and our national team, wrote the director of the NFF.

– Is it possible to calculate what both have meant for NFF finances in recent years?

– It’s difficult to measure specifics (…) because it’s really the national team and not individual players that counts. However, we see that a large profile contributes to an increase in, among other things, ticket sales, costume sales and interest, writes Pahr Andresen.

Lance Heptinstall

"Hardcore zombie fan. Incurable internet advocate. Subtly charming problem solver. Freelance twitter ninja."

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