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Soccer Aid 2014

Last updated June 10th, 2014

By Claire Derrick
The Director of Education for Event Academy found herself surrounded by nearly 65,000 excited fans on Sunday evening as she waited for celebrities and sports legends to compete for the coveted 2014 Soccer Aid Championship cup. Here’s her account of the event…
So here I was at Old Trafford in Manchester, surrounded by thousands of chanting fans, wide-eyed and excited…and that was just the dads! My husband was busy telling my 10 year old son the names of all the retired footballers whilst my son patiently explained who the celebrities were (Olly Murs, Jack Whitehall and Marvin Humes to name but a few).
This evening would be just up my street; a blend of sporting endeavour and charity fundraising event all rolled into one fabulous live experience – for those taking part, those watching it live at the stadium and the millions watching on TV at home.
I began my usual trick of stepping away from the atmosphere of the sporting event and putting myself in the shoes of an event management professional – something that we in the event industry do all the time! However, on this occasion I decided to try something a bit different and imagine myself as someone new to sports event management – experiencing a mass participation event for the first time.
From across the stadium I watched as a mexican wave started and rippled its way around towards us. I saw the raw strength that a huge crowd can have at events – whenever the wave petered out or stopped, boos rang out from the crowd around the sports stadium, demanding an immediate restart. The noise of the crowd was so loud at one point that I wondered whether it was being pumped in through the event sound systems!
Once this charity sports event had begun the atmosphere reached fever pitch as players battled for the ball (some playing just a little bit dirty and bending the rules for charity!) The ebb and flow took the crowd on a journey that consisted of insane joy (when a goal was scored) to utter deflation when the opposition gained control.
This live experience was hugely enhanced by how the stadium was illuminated (think flood lights as the sun went down and pyrotechnics during the trophy presentation), clever use of the advertising hoardings (charity imagery and fundraising messages were displayed all night) and of course entertainment (Katherine Jenkins, Wilkes Dance Troup and Sam Bailey added extra sparkle and glamour).
At the end of the event the atmosphere was still electric as everyone headed for home. Why? Because this type of sporting event is an all round winner – it has a clever mix of competition, mass participation and charity to hold it together and make it perform just as it should. To inspire individuals and ignite senses.
If I was just setting out on my career in event management I’d be itching to gain experience as a sports event management professional – we are living in the age of the sports celebrity and high spend on sporting events. It is THE place to be right now.
If you are someone interested in getting into the event industry or in particular sports event management, I would urge you to get yourself a ticket to a sporting event such as a football or tennis match, cycling event, rugby tournament or athletics meeting and simply immerse yourself in the atmosphere, imagining that YOU have created this little piece of history.
Afterwards give yourself a pretend pat on the back for creating a great event and then book yourself on one of our courses to help turn the dream into reality.

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