Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Wembley Way

Wembley Stadium
Day 3 began with a look into the sport industry of London. We took the tube to Wembley Park for our tour of Wembley Stadium, the famous football stadium where the FA Cup will be played on Saturday as Liverpool takes on Chelsea. 

The seats where Will and Kate will sit!
I hate to admit it, but I knew little about Wembley Stadium and it's importance before the tour. Stevie, our lovely tour guide, made it clear that Wembley is a very important venue where concerts, football matches, and even American football games are held. The stadium can only hold 36 events a year, and season tickets are not cheap. We toured the press room, locker rooms, and even got a chance to see the royal family box, where William, Kate, Harry and the Queen Mum will all take their seats this Saturday for the FA Cup.

Sclark and I in the royal Wembley box
Stevie's most important fact that he stressed to us is the world record the stadium holds: the most toilets out of any other venue in the world at a staggering 2,618 in the stadium, which seats 90,000. Way to go Wembley!

We also got to walk through the tunnel that all the football players walk through before the game. They had a recording of the crowd cheering, and I could only imagine how nerve wracking it must be to be a pro footballer, about to walk on the pitch in front of 90,000 screaming London football fans. I can't wait to watch the match on Saturday and see the royal family and footballers in the same places where I stood.

Delicious latte
After the tour of Wembley, we took to the tube again and traveled to Holborn where a few of us had a quick lunch break at a cute cafe. That's one of my favorite parts about London: on every corner you can find a cute cafe with a great cup of coffee, a delicious sandwich and a decadent pastry. I'm not sure if I was super hungry and cold, but it was one of the best meals I've ever had.

The group then met up in the afternoon to meet with Matt Kauffman, head of global partnerships for VISA with both the NFL and the Olympics. Matt told us all about VISA's sponsor work with the Olympics, from the new social media platform they are utilizing this year to the long history the credit card company has with the games. It was interesting to hear him describe how the expensive TOP sponsorship program was worth it for the company. He explained how it allows VISA to tap into 204 different markets worldwide, and the association of VISA and the Olympics alone increases business for the company. Consumers love the Olympics, and when VISA is connected they transfer that love to VISA transactions. It's interesting to note that VISA is the only card accepted in the Olympic park in London, and the only card you can buy Olympic event tickets with. While many Londoners were perturbed by this concept, it shows the type of exclusivity a TOP sponsorship position with the Olympics can buy a company.

Peter Pan Statue
Stephanie, Christine and I took to Notting Hill after we finished up with the group. We got frozen yogurt at a delicious cafe, then strolled through Kensington Gardens. The gardens were so beautiful, and we got to see where they are setting up an exhibit to promote the next Winter Olympic Games (which will take place in Russia) during the Summer 2012 Games in London. That's the Olympic committees, always thinking ahead! We got to pet pups on pups on pups as the park was filled with dogs, and we saw the Peter Pan statue.

It was a long and exhausting day of tube travel (where I briefly fell asleep on Sclark's shoulder), but I learned so much about the business aspects of the London Games and experienced an amazing behind-the-scenes tour of a historic London sports venue. I can't wait to see what adventures tomorrow brings :)

Bonus feature! -- London phraseology so far

From needing help by every cashier to count my pounds to accidentally responding to locals with my faux British accent, it's been an interesting adjustment to the London way of life. I've picked up some great phrases from the Londoners, and here are a few so far:

Pounds on pounds on pounds

Top up: when you add more money to a card, such as an Oyster card for the tube or a pre-paid cell phone
Take away: it's not "to go", when you want your food for the road, but it's take away instead

Chips vs. potato crisps: chips are fries, potato crisps are potato chips! 

Cheers: it's not "Thank You" after paying a cashier, but cheers. How cute!

Toilets: not restrooms

Mind the gap: probably my favorite phrase so far! You hear it on every tube stop informing passengers to step over the space between the train and the platform. It's just such a great phrase to say with a British accent. 

Cheers everyone!

Kensington Gardens

No comments:

Post a Comment