Red Bull did it. The Bragantino experiment worked perfectly and the energy drink maker will have a team competing in the top tier of Brazilian soccer in 2020.
The club from Bragança Paulista won the Serie B championship in November after making 75 points in 38 games, 7 more than second place Sport Recife. There was never a moment of doubt for the team coached by Antonio Carlos Zago. It was absolute dominance from start to finish.
The team will return to training the first week of January to prepare for the Campeonato Paulista Serie A, the state tournament that precedes the national championship. Bragantino will also be part of Copa de Brasil 2020, a tournament they will be entering in the Round of 16, a right earned by winning Serie B.
Bragantino’s offseason has been busy. In terms of infrastructure, the team started renovations and expansion of the Nabi Abi Chedid Stadium shortly after their last match of the season. Fulfilling Red Bull’s promises made when they announced the partnership in April. Expect a stadium capacity increase from 15,000 to 20,000 . General Manager Thiago Scuro told Globo Esporte that the project will take two years to complete.
There is also some expectation about the new badge, one that is supposed to incorporate the Red Bull branding. So far there are no leaks.
In other news about the brand, UOL.com reported that the club is negotiating its TV rights with Rede Globo under the condition that the network will refer to the team as Red Bull Bragantino during the broadcasts. Rede Globo has refused for years to mention brands on its broadcasts when those are part of the name of a team or a stadium.
In the sporting side, Bragantino has announced two new players. One is forward Alerrando, a 19-year-old from Atletico Mineiro, and the other is center back Leo Realpe, an 18-year-old Ecuadorean, member of the Independiente del Valle team that won Copa Sudamericana in 2019.
And while the players enjoy their month of vacation, coach Antonio Carlos Zago hasn’t stop working. He visited Leipzig and Salzburg in recent weeks, something he described as “part of the job” on his social media postings.
Bragantino will be playing a couple of friendlies in Buenos Aires between January 12th and 19th during the preseason. The club will return to Brazil to set its training base at the HWT Sports complex in Bragança Paulista for the next four months instead of the Red Bull Brasil training facility in Jarinu.
Bragantino will be in Group D of Campeonato Paulista with Corinthians, Ferroviaria and Guarani. The first game of the tournament will be at Santos on January 22nd.
It has been confirmed that Red Bull Brasil —the original club— will be competing in the Campeonato Paulista Serie A2 (state 2nd division) in 2020. This team will be used for developing players, just like New York Red Bulls II or FC Liefering. Red Bull Brasil also earned a spot in the 2020 Brasileirao Serie D (national 4th division) but media outlets in Brazil are reporting that another club from the state of Sao Paulo would be taking that place.
Finally, there won’t be a merge between the youth systems of Bragantino and Red Bull Brasil.