If the main Brazilian soccer teams were people, Corinthians and Flamengo would be a brave and joyful youngster, while Botafogo and São Paulo would be reliable, polite, sophisticated middle aged men.
GfK, an important market research specialist, interviewed 1.000 Brazilians in 12 major cities for the study “Patrocínio de Futebol e Personalidade de Marca” (Soccer Sponsors and Brand Personality). They had to associate a list of qualities to the name of the main 11 teams – Atlético Mineiro, Botafogo, Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Flamengo, Fluminense, Grêmio, Internacional, Palmeiras, Santos, São Paulo and Vasco. They were supposed to describe both the teams they supported and others.
As GfK explains, the soccer team brand personalities were built through the years and are related to their history, level of success, the profile of their fans, main players and directors, the city where they are based etc.
Four teams emerge as having a very strong identity: Corinthians, Flamengo, Atlético Mineiro, São Paulo and Cruzeiro.
The two teams from São Paulo, Corinthians and São Paulo, have opposite characteristics. While Corinthians is associated with the words passion, joyful, brave, courageous, authentic and freedom lover, São Paulo is considered intelligent, sophisticated and rational. Let’s also remember that Corinthians rules among poorer people while São Paulo is seen as an elite club.
Flamengo, from Rio, also popular among the population of lower income, has a personality similar to Corinthians (while Fluminense would be closer to the São Paulo team and Botafogo is seen as polite and honest).
The two main teams of Minas Gerais, Atlético and Cruzeiro, have strong identities and also mimic the Corinthians-São Paulo opposition. Atlético woul be more happy and brave and Cruzeiro more sophisticated and intelligent.
Curiously, the two main teams of Rio Grande do Sul, Internacional e Grêmio, have similar personalities, with focus on their sophistication.
You can read more about this study in Portuguese, in this amazing post by Emerson Gonçalves, from Globo Esporte website.