SJM football friendly with Portugal Icons showcases expertise in hosting world-class events

The match attracted over 4,000 spectators to the Macau Dome, creating a cheerful and joyous atmosphere for fans to watch a masterful display of high football from Figo and other legends

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Macau SAR, SJM Resorts, S.A. brought to Macau the “SJM Five-a-side Football Friendly: Portugal Icons vs. GBA Flying Dragon.” The event, jointly organized by the Sports Bureau (ID) and supported by the Macao Government Tourism Office and the Macau Football Association (MFA), not only celebrated the one-quarter century of the SAR but also highlighted Macau’s role as a cultural link between China and Portugal, while celebrating the 45th anniversary of Sino-Portuguese diplomatic relations.

Focusing on Macau’s commitment to developing “Sports + Tourism” activities and enhancing the city’s reputation as a “City of Sports,” the event saw 11 legendary players from the “golden era” of Portuguese football take on a team from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA). Among the event’s notable guests were the Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Elsie Ao Ieong, and the Director of the Department of Publicity and Culture of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government.

Daisy Ho, Managing Director of SJM, said, “SJM has always attached great importance to the development of sports culture in Macau. In addition to promoting a variety of sports activities, we will continue to leverage ‘Sports + Tourism’ to enrich the SAR’s tourism landscape and facilitate the diversified development of our tourism and leisure industry, to bolster our reputation as a ‘City of Sports,’ and to attract more overseas visitors to Macau.”

The president of ID, Pun Weng Kun, also added, “By building a cooperation platform through large-scale sports events and collaborative sports exchange activities, the goal is to promote the development of the sports industry, leverage the synergies of major sports events, stimulate the growth of the local sports industry, and drive economic development in sports tourism and related sectors.”

The highly anticipated match attracted over 4,000 passionate spectators, creating a cheerful and joyous atmosphere. Upon the arrival of the Portugal Icons players, they engaged in a series of activities to experience the welcoming spirit of Macau. Local fans welcomed their longtime idols at the airport and Grand Lisboa Palace, eagerly sharing a moment and a photo with them.

Fans are excited to have more opportunities to meet and greet the following day as the football stars embarked on a tour of Macau in an open-topped bus. The tour started from Grand Lisboa Palace and passed through several famous landmarks, including the iconic Hotel Lisboa.

Those who desired closer interaction with the football stars had a golden opportunity to join the fan meeting at Grand Lisboa Palace before the match to get close to their favourite idols, collect signatures, and take selfies.

Portugal Icons captain, Luís Figo, said about the visit, “I find it most interesting to see the blend of Portuguese influence in Macau’s architecture. Many locals also greeted us in Portuguese, it makes me feel right at home.” Hélder Postiga echoed similar sentiments, “The hospitality extended to us from Macau and SJM has been impeccable – everything from hotel reception to food is easily one of the best we have experienced. I’m impressed by Macau’s vibrant cityscape – it exudes an energy and aura that sets it apart from other Asian cities.”

An array of sideline activities took place at the outdoor plaza of the Ponte 16 Resort, including football-themed games, exclusive merchandise booths, photo opportunities, and chances to win match tickets and other prizes.

One of the highlights of the event was a special-themed exhibition showcasing personal collections on loan from Portugal Icons, which was held at Grand Lisboa Palace’s West Lobby on May 18 and 19. Fans could also indulge in football-themed cocktails and food at Mesa by José Avillez and The Grand Buffet for a special culinary experience. For those who preferred a more laid-back experience, the match was also broadcast live at The Terrace Bar.

SJM launched a series of promotions all over Macau, including limited-edition sportswear and souvenirs available at Grand Lisboa Palace and the match venue, such as SJM’s mascot “Sam the Rooster” plush toy dressed in the Portugal Icons team uniform or referee’s outfit, as well as a range of football-themed merchandise, like t-shirts, scarves, caps, and footballs.

As part of SJM’s efforts in Corporate Social Responsibility, the Portugal Icons and the MFA hosted the “Legends of Tomorrow – Football Camp,” where football stars shared tricks and skills with the local youth, who treasured the opportunity to learn from the renowned players’ expertise. Additionally, SJM invited over 300 underprivileged students, grassroots families, disadvantaged groups, and college football team members to attend the match.

To fully engage overseas football fans, SJM also introduced the “Football Match Packages” with special rates on accommodation, food and beverage, and match tickets. Some of the packages included exclusive access to the players’ welcome dinner and limousine services.

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