The scoreboard barely changed for most of Costa Rica’s world cup qualifying game against Haiti on Friday, but a third ticker labeled VCM steadily climbed throughout the game, topping 30 at the final whistle. This tally had nothing to do with football, but rather the people watching the game. It tracked the number of domestic violence calls police were receiving.
Dubbed the “Tercer Marcador,” or the third scoreboard, the project was a joint effort between television station Teletica, the National Women’s Institute (INAMU) and ad agency J. Walter Thompson designed to bring awareness to the increase in domestic violence during football games.
“The game is a party for much of society,” J. Walter Thompson employee David Carvajal told Teletica, “but there is one part of the population that suffers during the game.”
According to INAMU, police receive an average of 150 more domestic violence calls on game days than normal. Police attribute the spike in violence to increased alcohol consumption and frustration caused by the game.
The Tercer Marcador made its debut during the 2014 World Cup, when police received at least 350 reports per game. Costa Rica’s match against Greece, which marked the first time the country qualified for the World Cup quarterfinals, saw the highest number of calls at 486.
While women’s advocates throughout the country have applauded the awareness campaign, INAMU statistics show that women and children are most likely to experience violence several hours after the game is over, long after the Tercer Marcador stops ticking.