Brits both revere – and recoil from – the creeping Americanisation of their shores.
The quiet dignity of watching the cricket at Lord’s with a flask of tea and a broadsheet is a world away from the bombast of an NFL game: a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it experience best enjoyed with a pint of Bud Lite in one hand, and a giant foam hand on the other.
British sport is the Morris Minor to the American’s DeLorean; The Twinings Earl Grey to their Pumpkin Spiced Latte. Yet – to borrow and Americanism – I’m no ‘hater’.
There’s room for both the reserved and the revved-up experience. But as social media heightens consumer expectations, your flask of tea just isn’t ‘Instagram-ready’.
My most recent All-American experience was watching the Oakland Raiders vs Seattle Seahawks at Wembley, where I ate the ingeniously paired combo of popcorn chicken, with actual popcorn.
Getting to know an unfamiliar sport’s intricacies was fun, and the ‘between plays’ action was high-octane, glitzy, and frankly kept us entertained for hours.
This trend towards ‘turning it up a notch’ is largely good news for the event industry. And in this issue we hear from the organisers behind many of these spectacles (p32).
The truth is that, despite the cynical British disposition, these events do a lot right. Namely, providing world-class creative experiential activity; high quality programmes and merchandise; big money sponsorship; impressive audio-visual standards and the creation of desirable, fun jobs.
So lighten up, and you might actually ‘have a nice day’.
Access All Areas’ February edition is available to read here.