“Datatainment” not my fault – it’s official!

I’m delighted to say that I’ve just been alerted to the work of Dr Gregoire Cliquet of the READi Design Lab. The great news is that Dr Cliquet came up with the datatainment portmanteau word years before I did. Phew! 

What is also significant is that Dr Cliquet has a totally different definition of what the word means and that his coinage of the word is fascinating and much more academically based. 

So, no longer will I have to be embarrassed at coming up with a silly word. The concept of using sports data in much more engaging ways, much more entertaining ways, still thrives… but now I can point to an established academic’s work the next time someone smirks. Thank you Dr Cliquet. 

Richard Ayers

Case Study: Tampa Bay Lightning’s Social Media Captain

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One of the biggest questions facing any sporting organisations online is “how do we engage with our fans?” Likes and follows make for impressive reading but they don’t guarantee long term loyalty and users active involvement with the brand. However, a strong, creative digital strategy can transform connections between organisations and their audience. NHL outfit Tampa Bay Lightning have understood this to produce a highly innovative plan to place the fan at the front of their digital strategy.

Tampa Bay Lightning has pioneered the ‘Bolts Social Captain’ scheme for selected home games during the 2013-14 NHL season. This format gives a different fan each game the opportunity to share their social media prowess to promote the team during live games. To start with a Social Captain receives four VIP tickets with complimentary food and drink as well as an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the stadium and facilities.ShannonLightningBadge

All this sounds terrific but Tampa Bay (@TBLightning) want something in return. They desire a fan’s digital prowess to aid their overall output on game night. Throughout the live game, the user must make use of all their social media channels to promote the club/game, utilising the hashtags #BoltsSocial, #GoBolts, #BeTheThunder and #TBLightning. However, what separates them from a simple sports crazed fan at a laptop is that the Social Captain is in charge of the content for the official Tampa Bay Lighting accounts (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and Vine). Therefore Tampa Bay have doubled their output with half the effort; a smart move in anyone’s book.

Bolts_social_media-340x220The content produced provides a personal and unique look for every home game with the guarantee that each game’s output will be different. Fans adore the idea of access so the concept of letting them view whatever they like, and present it however they like is the equivalent of kid in a candy store. Tampa Bay not only permits their content, they actively celebrate and promote it. Within the stadium as well, all content produced by the Social Captain is displayed on the Bolts Social Central Wall for fans to enjoy and share. This has resulted in a 26% rise in mentions during game nights.

With extensive behind the scenes access, deep personal trust and the utilisation and encouragement of an engaged and enthused fan base, Tampa Bay have simply understood the most basic, crucial element of social media. Social media needs to be social.

PZZYEUrThe selection of their captains only proves this further. They hire a mix of key public influences as well as fans from all backgrounds whether a full time Dad or an internet-saavy teenagers. Their recruitment of WWE’s Chris Jericho, Social Media blogger Kim Garst and Buccaneers Receiver Vincent Jackson helped their #BoltsSocial scheme reach a total of 2,733,005 Twitter accounts.

To become a Social Captain, you must explain to the club your current digital standing, your plans for social promotion on the night, and explain why you would be a great Social Captain in 140 characters or less. However once all the hoops have been jumped through, the positive impact can begin – not only within the arena and its social media channels but within the press. Vincent Jackson’s time as Social Captain not only produced good engagement from fans but it produced external positive press. His purchase of 400 tickets and donation of them to military members for the second year in a row saw widespread acclaim. Through the platform as Social Captain, this kind act was given greater publicity and the Tampa Bay Lightning brand benefited greatly.

Looking at the bigger statistical picture, the #BoltsSocial scheme has helped Tampa Bay reach new heights of growth and reach. For starters, Tampa Bay Lightning reached over 3.5 million people over the course of the year directly attributed to their key celebrity influencers. Since its launch in March 2013, Tampa Bay Lightning’s social media platforms have seen strong growth:  Twitter 64.3%, Instagram 168.1% and Facebook 47%.

Nevertheless the Social Captain scheme does act as useful example for how brands can utilise what they have to their advantage. By encouraging fans to come forward and take part in Tampa Bay’s digital evolution, they highlight the importance of digital to the average fan and the role they have in its future. Although it may be difficult for larger brands to wholly adopt the concept, it is definitely an idea to champion. Social Champion, you might say.

The Andrew Booth Memorial Lecture

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On the 23rd June, Richard has been chosen to present the Andrew Booth Memorial Lecture at Birkbeck University. The chosen topic is the impact of digital technology and social media on sport; the core focus of Seven League’s business.

Richard-Ayers

 

The lecture will re-emphasise how digital technology and social media are playing an increasingly important role in the business of sport, particularly in the management of sports events. His wide experience in, and understanding of, the fields of music, film, sport, publishing and every day popular culture will be discussed as he explains why digital media is vital for each organisation to not only understand, but embrace and utilise wholly. More than this, Richard will discuss contemporary usage and possible future trends in digital technology and social media in sport.

In particular, they’ll be an examination of how these two markets interact now and in the future. This will be achieved through understanding the capacity sports organisations have to engage and create conversation to worldwide audiences, the positive power of social media in the world of sport, and the issues surrounding data visualisation and ‘datatainment’.

Rio2016_logoFollowing the lecture’s conclusion, Richard will chair a panel of leading sport and digital individuals with a lead focus upon the usage of social media in London 2012, and its potential and challenges in the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics. However, there will be a wide spread of topics covered in terms of sports and digital media as well as a lively Q&A.

The panel members are:

  • Alex Balfour – former Chief Digital Officer at the Engine Group and Head of New Media at LOCOG
  • Tom Thirwall – CEO, Bigballs Films
  • Dan McLaren – Founder and Editor-in-Chief, UK Sports Network
  • Gill Leivesley – Management Consultant, Takeout
  • George Rousoss – Professor of Pervasive Computing, Birkbeck (CS & IS)

The event start at 6pm at Birkbeck University. Tickets are free but booking is essential so get your tickets here. It should be a great event and the more the merrier.

 

Digital Directions: Ten Things You Shouldn’t Do

Next week, the Stadium Business Summit will celebrate its fifth anniversary in earnest at Wembley Stadium from 3rd to 5th June. Richard will be there to present his talk on the 5th about the ten most common mistakes made by stadium businesses as they embark on their fledgling digital media strategies.

BSummit

Registration is still open here. Hope to see you there.

 

How to do sports star social media – by “punched in the head for a living” UFC fighter Johny Hendricks at SXSW 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 13.30.04SXSW 2014 – As part of the SXsports track this year, Richard ran a session “Social on the Field: Sports stars and Social Goals”. After a 15 min intro presentation, citing key examples from world sports of athletes and their use of twitter (shared here later), he interviewed UFC fighter Johny “Big Rigg” Hendricks to get an insight into what it’s really like to fight online as well as in the octagon.

My session in the newly christened SXSports part of the Interactive conference was to focus on the impact of social media on an athlete’s performance. I could have talked to a Premier League footballer, or a Premiership Rugby player, or any one of the other exciting sports that we are lucky enough to work with. But, in another moment of christening, it seemed perfect timing to announce our new partnership with UFC EMEA by bringing Johny Hendricks onto the platform with me.

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You could not get two more different men sharing a stage. Texan and Londoner, fighter and geek, t-shirt and tweed. Oh, and his driver will go 315yds where I usually drive 290… greater hand and club-head speed, you see. And, more relevantly, I run social media channels for a living – part of the broad Seven League skill set – and he runs it for himself. Only golf and Johny’s motto of “Go Beard or Go Home” seemed to unite our worlds.

My hypothesis is that social media is a personal communication channel that, with the right thinking and the right message, can be a powerful part of a sports team or sports star’s armoury. Johny doesn’t talk about it that way – he just does it.

Some facts: Johny is a welterweight title contender in UFC. He has short “t-rex” arms, but packs a punch. He has a wife and three daughters, and two german shepherds. He likes golf. He is extremely disciplined in everything he does and, in the context of all the other athletes I’ve worked around, has one of the highest levels of discipline and one of the most exacting training regimes. He has a love of his job, a respect for the fans, and a philosophical approach to life – several times during our session he referenced his fathers advice to “be like a duck and let abuse be like water of your back”

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It was this philosophical and attitudinal approach that came out strongest for me in the session. Johny is well balanced – he can brush off rude or abusive tweets, saying “they don’t know me” – even if his wife finds it more difficult to do so. When he gets compliments, he loves it, but the criticism doesn’t have an impact – and there’s no way that social media impacts his performance in training or in the octagon.

Resource: 

Does he do it all himself? Mostly – his wife occasionally tweets because, when you have 140,000 followers, there’s a lot of replying to do. Too much, in fact, so he just replies to what he can. He puts time aside in his disciplined schedule and will do 30 mins of tweeting while recovering from a training session but before family time.

Tools: 

He has a verified twitter account – but not analytics – and he manages the account through the twitter iPhone app.

Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 13.46.41Content: 

His editorial policy is “humanising and humorous”  though those are my words, not his. He likes to talk about things that are in real life – things that aren’t about fighting. He never talks about an upcoming fight. He’ll skim over comments on training – particularly because if you say it was a ‘good session’ then you can get a load of stick of people asking “why only good… why not great?!”. So his tweets are as likely to show off his new slippers or a comedy t-shirt at Disneyland as they are to be talking about UFC. He’s quite happy to see other fighters commenting on their condition before a fight because it might just give him the edge in understanding his opponent – but he’d never do that himself. As for ‘trash talk’ he doesn’t go in for it – but some do.

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We covered the UFC policy a bit, but as Johny said “I’m someone who gets punched in the head for a living, so that’s all above my pay grade”. But the suggestion that UFC might artificially hype a contest or acrimony between fighters didn’t ring true – it seemed much more like the general atmosphere of being open and accessible to fans – and that fighters can make their own minds up how to behave – means that there is plenty of genuine tumult going on – no need for hype, just sensible social media management in
reaction to what gets said.

Sponsors:

Johny has a list of sponsors and regular social media contractual requirements – but always aims to over-service them. Some clients are prescriptive, about what words or links to use, where others may request he forms a message in his own words.

Fans:

This is the philosophical trait coming to the fore again – he thrives on the fan support, but stays focused on his goals – and when people start causing trouble, he doesn’t rise to the bait. If only all sports stars showed such restraint.

So , what did I learn about how to do social media when you’re a sports star?

- Humanise

- Humour

- Humility

and a Healthy psychological approach are the keys to success.

But then I’m never going to make it as a sports star anyway.

NBA Global Games in the UK: Showtime in London’s O2

IMG_8403The NBA put on a show in London’s O2 arena last night – I was lucky enough to be there – and what a cultural experience it was.

“It’s like this in the States? Why the f**k am I watching football?!”

- that was the quote from the 20-something behind me when we got to the NBA traditional Dance Cam. The camera had picked out a member of the audience to dance-off against the Hawks’ mascot and if you’re a fan of some classic body-popping with a cross-section of Michael Jackson moves, then it was quite a display.

“He must be a plant,” said a cynical voice behind me “he’s just too good to be a normal person.”.

IMG_8413IMG_8416In front of me, two British 30 somethings with a love of the game – not the Hawks or the Nets particularly, but glad to be there. And beside me a lawyer and his wife – never been to a basketball game and “…well, I probably wouldn’t go again. I don’t get the constant need for some kind of gratification, for some kind of showbiz. I’m a big fan of baseball and I love the stats in sport, but this just doesn’t do it for me. Nice to be here though.”

So, a cross-section of views – hardly a scientific poll. But the words from one seasoned NBA-watcher summed up this particular game:

“It is almost a shame they play basketball in between breaks!”.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 18.28.00I’ve never been to an NBA game and I know there must be a lot more technique, skill, strategy in those fleeting moments of athleticism… but it moves fast and I know nothing… so I’m left enjoying the show, but not really feeling the game. A shame. Next time I must go with someone who can talk me through the detail – or maybe it’s the perfect opportunity for a mobile-device datatainment product to engage beginner-fans.

IMG_8407The business side, on the other hand… that’s a different story. Fan engagement, sports marketing, brand placement… it’s all there. Whether it be the SAP numbers quiz or the adidas skills challenge, or any of the other structured moments – Kiss Cam, Dance Cam, or acrobatic dunking… all good entertainment.

Congratulations NBA UK team for putting on a “helluva” show. I look forward to next time when I will learn to appreciate the sport – not just the impressive sports business.

Here’s the bad news: Spurs’ digital handling of Andre Villas Boas sacking

It’s relatively easy to do good work when the team is winning on the pitch – but people who run clubs’ digital services often debate how to handle the darker times. Go quiet? Focus on the history? Recognition and realism? There are many options, but to get a fresh perspective we asked Daniel Ayers – Seven League’s latest recruit, formerly Sony Music digital director and Spurs fan – for his assessment. RA. 

It is generally agreed that fan engagement, and a 2-way conversation with your audience, are A Good Thing. However, things get uncomfortable when you have to deliver bad news.

60083Spurs – who generally do a good job of bringing fans closer to the club via social media, especially with creative content on YouTube and Instagram - have had a rotten couple of days. On Sunday Dec 15th there was a 0-5 home defeat to Liverpool, a team they’ve often beaten or finished higher than in recent seasons. This was followed today (Monday 16th) by the sacking of the club’s manager, Andre Villas Boas.

Recent thrashings notwithstanding, AVB was generally well-liked by Spurs fans*: he achieved the a record Premier League points total for the club in the 2012-13 season and leaves with the highest win percentage of any Tottenham manager since 1899. And even for the #AVBOUT brigade, the news is humiliating. For now, at least, Spurs are the butt of everyone else’s jokes.

So: today was a big news day, and sensitive times for the fans. How did the club editorialise this across their channels?

Twitter (721k followers)
This is the club’s most active channel in terms of post volume, and we had 15 tweets today. But only 4 related to the managerial change, with 8 devoted to the Europa League draw, 1 linking to a regular Monday feature (‘Loan Watch’), 1 reflecting indirectly on the defeat to Liverpool and 1 on the all-important order deadline for Christmas delivery from the online store.

The Europa League draw against Ukrainian side FC Dnipro is undoubtedly news which merits coverage. Probably not in such detail though; including a tweet about the last time Spurs faced Ukrainian opposition felt a lot like padding.

Add in the ‘business as usual’ stories and there’s a definite sense of bad news being buried. Surely it would be sensible, in a period where fans are realistically only interested in one story, to acknowledge that by dropping anything non-essential?

There’s certainly no doubt which tweets had the largest reaction. At time of writing the 4 mgmt change tweets had garnered 15,348 retweets, compared to 833 for the other 11; an average response ratio of 50:1[a]

Facebook (3.1m followers)
The post volume on Facebook was lower (no 140 character restrictions, of course), but followed similar lines. Two items on the management change, and 1 each for the Europa League draw and Christmas delivery.

THFC Facebook post

Fans are fully aware of the usual content schedule after games…

So, there’s a more appropriate balance in terms of post topics. And, of course, the AVB posts will bring debate in the comments. That’s not a huge CRM issue; venting feelings in an appropriate forum is cathartic, and the range of views does include those who agree with the decision, and continue to pledge support to the club.

The top comments on other posts reflect a sharp awareness of the club’s tendencies for glossing over bad news, though. Regular features like Man Of The Match votes can be cringeable after poor performances (sensibly the club declined to meet the dare shown above, and skipped it this time), and commercial messaging is clearly going to be derided in this kind of situation.

THFC Facebook

Commercial messaging alongside news about the managerial changes was met with some derision.

Website

THFC website

Latest news stories wisely prioritised the day’s main event.

The official site takes a more formal approach.Though there is a mix of topics in the latest news, the lead item relates to the management changes, as it should do.
Site news stories are never open for comments, so there is no risk of dissent here.

Email
Sadly the club’s email newsletters are often laughably out of touch with the fans’ news agenda, and today’s was no exception. With turmoil abounding, fans were no doubt relieved to discover there’s still time to “Give the gift of FIFA 14″ this Christmas.

Now, presumably this email was a contractual obligation to EA Sports, but you’d imagine even they would rather put a little clear water between the sacking announcement and their promotion.

THFC newsletter

THFC email newsletters can often be out of step with the fans’ news agenda.

Really, there’s no easy way to deal with these communications; they suck for everyone concerned. At least Spurs were the first to officially break the news; if nothing else, they’ve reinforced their owned channels as the primary source for verified information.

The club also clearly have a strong hold on social media postings by players. Plenty of the first team squad are active on Twitter, but the usually loquacious Lewis Holtby, Kyle Walker, Andros Townsend et al were noticeable in their absence of comment. The only possible rebel was loaned-out fullback Benoit Assou-Ekotto, whose tweet about having “a good Monday” could be construed as a dig at the manager who shipped him out. Even Emmanuel Adebayor — apparently poorly regarded by AVB — was at pains to distance himself from accusations of mocking the 0-5 defeat.

Response from players across the league was muted, with only the self-appointed commentariat duo of Joey Barton and Rio Ferdinand weighing in. It’s a small industry of course; never a great idea to burn bridges publicly.

However, the own-goals – obvious attempts to drive negatives down the feed, and commercial messaging no fan is in the mood for – could easily have been avoided, either removed from the schedule entirely, or just postponed until happier times.

My personal exposure to social media comms crisis management comes primarily from the music industry, where the policy tended to be to say as little as possible on any negative story or outcome. Poorly received releases, or disappointing campaign responses, were generally never mentioned again.
When 2012 X Factor winner James Arthur recently had a rap – and Twitter – battle with Micky Worthless, he caused a storm around the homophobic language he apparently used (Arthur somewhat weakly claims his use of the term “fucking queer” was “not meant as a reference to homosexuality”), and ended up having to cede control of his Twitter account to his management company, who now run it on his behalf. There was no mention of the story, or his apology, on any other official channel: why give it any more oxygen?

For sports clubs, though, ignoring the issue is not an option. Whilst most music fans follow the artist for a short period of time, most football fans follow the club for life. Record companies rarely suffer lasting damage from the actions of their artists, because no-one really cares about the label brand anyway. In football though, the club is the brand; they can only protect it by tackling bad news head-on.

*Disclosure: I am one of those fans.
[a] Ratio calculated by taking average RT rate for manager change tweets (15348/4 = 3837), and comparing to average RT rate for other tweets (833/11 = 76). 3837:76 = 50:1.

The making of the BBC #SPOTY Vine

BBC SPOTY Vine This Sunday, all eyes will be on Leeds as BBC Sports Personality of the Year visits the city for the 60th edition of the show.

#SPOTY is one of the biggest events in the British sporting calendar, so needless to say when BBC Sport approached Seven League a few weeks ago about a social media opportunity around the shortlist announcement we jumped at the chance to get involved.

The challenge was to produce BBC SPOTY‘s first ever Vine video to coincide with the announcement of this year’s 10 nominees on the One Show on 26 November.

We developed some creative concepts and settled on using the concept of time, with the idea of sharing Sports Personality triumphs from the past 59 years by creating a book of memories. 60 years in 6 seconds. That’s a challenge.

The SL team as SPOTY

On each page would be an iconic image of each #SPOTY winner with their name and the year they won handwritten underneath, finishing with headshots of this year’s 10 nominees and the #SPOTY hashtag.

The nature of the project meant that we had to be very hush-hush about it. The nominations for Sports Personality of the Year are a closely-guarded secret, and until we signed a confidentiality agreement just days before the announcement we had no idea who they were — which led to some interesting sketches in our planning stages!

We looked at plenty of ways of filming, but the final Vine was created and filmed by one member of the team, at home in the kitchen with a Samsung Galaxy SII blue-tacked to a “workbench”, which was actually a coffee table propped up with a couple of G-clamps.

Antonia working on the Vine

It was hardly a glamorous work space, but it created the perfect birds-eye view to look down on the book as the 59 previous winners flashed past. It also worked perfectly for Vine’s more informal feel – content with a personal, hand-crafted style works really well on social because it’s fun – and more polished graphics can potentially be seen by fans as advertising.

The key to this whole project, though, was the quick sign-off. That’s where the close relationship comes in handy. A technical error meant the Vine was deleted seconds after it was originally posted and the clip now in circulation was filmed, approved and put live within minutes of the announcement being made on BBC One.

Then we waited for the reaction… and thankfully it was really well received, with the initial Tweet shared over 150 times and over 400 times in total across Twitter, Facebook and Vine.

A great thing for us was that we got a chance to flex our content-producing muscles. The whole Seven League team have content backgrounds – and it’s core to our company vision – but we spend so much time doing analysis, building strategy, working on commercial growth that it’s easy to forget we’re content experts at heart.

Not seen it yet? Check out BBC SPOTY‘s and @7League‘s first Vine below.

“Arsenal FC, I presume?” – A traveller’s view on African football fandom

Lead Consultant Neal McCleave on the growth of football in Africa following a recent visit to Tanzania…

I have been regularly travelling to Africa over the past five years and have watched with interest the rise and rise of football across the continent. It is clear English Premier League clubs are winning the hearts and minds of new disciples.

McCleave blog pic

On my first visit to Mozambique in 2008, football was evident but not all consuming. On my next trip to Malawi, I started to see makeshift goals and people wearing threadbare replica shirts. On to Zambia in 2012, and every taxi driver seemed to have a club allegiance with decals on windscreens and an immediate question of what team you support (by the way, Zambia is Chelsea country).

So in September this year I went to Tanzania where football truly is the new religion. Every village has a decent looking football pitch, with some of them better than Grimsby’s Blundell Park. Around 15% of the male population wear replica shirts and many of those are kit from the current season. Games are shown live on cathode ray tube TVs in most corner cafes and a whole range of commercial enterprises are adorned with club crests.

Several things are significant about the mobile phone kiosk pictured – firstly, where it is. The picture was taken by the shore of Lake Tanganyika at a place called Ujiji. The border of Burundi is about 20 miles north and The Congo is 30 miles away across the lake, so not the most accessible location.

This is further illustrated by the fact that only half a mile from this spot in November of 1871, Henry Morton Stanley met Dr. David Livingstone and uttered the immortal words “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

This picture was taken around two weeks after the signing of Mesut Özil by Arsenal, with his name already written up on the kiosk as the new messiah.

An unscientific ranking of clubs by popularity in Tanzania;

1) Arsenal
2) Chelsea
3) Liverpool
4) Manchester United

Interestingly I did not see one Manchester City or Spurs shirt, and from other leagues only Barcelona and Bayern Munich were evident.

Africa has long been governed by country border, tribal allegiances, and religious affiliation and now football has seemingly being added to this mix.

Notes: Africa makes up 7% of the total world internet population. There were an estimated 167 million internet users in Africa at the end of June 2012 – 15.6% of the total population. Facebook subscribers in the continent reached 51.6 million in December 2012.

Internet-penetration-in-Africa-q2-2012

Africa Internet Population Statistics 2012

Source: internetworldstats.com 

Additional reading:

African Premier League fans in their favourite English football shirts - October 2013

Africa ‘leapfrogs’ to wider internet access – September 2013

English clubs battle for Africa fanbase – July 2012

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium

Consulting Partner Peter Clare went to Wembley this weekend to watch two American sporting greats…

Kick-off was at 6pm, we met at 9.30am

It was my first NFL game — the Minnesota Vikings vs the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium. My friend from Pittsburgh texted me the day before asking if we should meet at 9.30am. I couldn’t work it out; Wembley is a one-hour journey.

I’d never even watched a full NFL game on TV. I’ve watched a few Grid Iron films, seen some clips on YouTube and can just remember Channel 4’s attempt to hype up the sport in the 80s. But this didn’t prepare me for the day ahead.

NFLWe arrived at Wembley hours before kick-off, and we weren’t the only ones. Thousands of fans lined Wembley Way, and that was even before we got to the fan parks. There must have been six merchandise stores, one as big as a decent sized Tesco, all with queues a hundred deep. There were giant inflatable NFL players, giant inflatable footballs, in fact there were giant inflatable every-things.

Big screen showing the US coverage, loads of bars and people signing you up to receive a free trail of the NFL’s game pass (live streaming and highlights of all NFL games), large men throwing American footballs through holes and, of course, more hot dog and burger stands than you could shake a corn dog stick at. None of this happens on FA Cup final day.

In the stadium the hype continued. Tinie Tempah, national anthems (England’s and The Star-Spangled Banner), marching bands and lot and lots of cheer leaders. A ball was still to be thrown.

NFL cheerleadersOne down side was the lack of phone signal, outside or inside the stadium. I couldn’t follow the pre-match build up, tweet, post, find out when the best time to go into the stadium, share my excitement, I couldn’t even send text messages. It felt going back in time.

I have to admit, it was great fun. Everyone was in a good mood and rival fans even talk to each other. The NFL know sport, but they also know sport can be a full day of entertainment.

Maybe 9 hours at a sporting event is too long, but at £65 a ticket (I paid over £100 for an FA Cup final ticket recently) it gave me an awesome introduction to a sport I will pay more attention to in the future.

NFL Wembley