A look at the Montreal company behind the Champions League opening ceremony
MONTREAL – Around 170 million people worldwide tuned in to the finals of the UEFA Champions League in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday.
But, it wasn’t just the match that wowed spectators.
The sporting event – one of the most watched in the world – started with a grand opening ceremony organized by Circo de Bakuza, a Montreal company that was brought in to kick the whole thing off.
According to Vincent Drolet, Circo de Bakuza’s president and founder, it took 400 artists, 90 singers, 84 giant banners, a few celebrities – including soccer star Luis Figo – and 6 months of preparation to put the show together.
“You know, 170 million people watching puts a bit of pressure for sure,” he said laughing.
“But we had a wonderful team.”
Founded in Montreal but based in Paris, France, Circo de Bakuza found its niche in the soccer industry, having organized ceremonies for the 2014 Coupe de France, the 2014 interactive FIFA World Cup and many more.
With 300 cameras positioned around the stadium and more than 400 volunteers, Drolet admitted the hardest thing was coordinating the event’s logistics.
The company also brought in London-based choreographer Wanda Rokicki who has worked on many international events, including the 2009 FIFA World Cup.
“Going through the hard times and the good times really was the best,” Drolet told Global News from his apartment in Paris.
“What’s left behind are the memories and the people you worked with.”
The show, according to Drolet, was conceived to be seen from above – but that didn’t stop organizers from putting Go-Pros on all the dancer’s heads.
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“It’s always fun to have another perspective of the show,” said Drolet.
“It’s nice to see the show from the performers’ perspectives and see fans cheering for them.”
Circo de Bakuza worked with UEFA for three years to put the show together.
“The best comment was from Michel Platini, the President of UEFA,” said Drolet.
“He said it was the best Champions League ceremony ever.”
The next step? Drolet says he plans to start working on ideas for the World Cup and the Olympics.
“We wont stop at this,” said Drolet.
“This is the first step on the ladder for us to go on to bigger things.”