That’s about that – Soccer Euro 2008
Yes, I’ve done it. This week we’re having an internal education program at Superfund. All new austrian employees and all new employees from germany. Now this evening austria played the last game of the group phase of the Euro2008. Versus germany. The big deal: If austria would’ve won, we would have progressed to the quarter finals. If germany won or got a draw, they’d go up.
Now it’s not a big secret anymore how the game turned out. I got my bet right this time and am making some points in the ranking of our Euro2008 game. We played as I suspected: We tried hard and had some chances, though couldn’t get to score. Then germany put the ball into the goal. From there on it was the austrian soccer way: Futile forchecking while hoping that germany makes a big enough mistake, or we’re lucky enough to get the leather-thingy into the net-thingy.
Didn’t work out.
From a marketing point of view the visit in the “fanmile” was interesting enough. The greater mass of people is pretty easy to entertain: Beer & skin. That’s pretty much it. Give them a closed area and they feel exclusive, willing to pay a lot more for your beer. The fanmile really only has one thing over any restaurant or pub, which all got nice flatscreen TVs for the Euro: The huge video-wall. Now, if you’re standing there, 20 – 30 meters away from that wall it really isn’t bigger than any TV in any pub would be.
But it’s the fanmile. Understand? 0,5 litres of beer at the fanmile is 4,50 euros. Add to that a cup deposit of 1 euro. Everywhere around, even just 10 meters from the exclusive fanmile, 0,5 litres of beer are 3-something euros. That’s about 30% of a raise. And you don’t have a choice: There’s one beer. And in one size. Take it or leave it. However, there were the Carlsberg-Girls dancing half naked and there were other people who felt special buying overpriced stuff, so the event was a huge success.
Talking the event-part you really could think that austrians are just unable to organize anything. The entrance was formed like a funnel, what lead to the fact that you were pushed and squeezed harder and harder the closer you got to the entrance. What a surprise! At every other big event I’ve been to no one ever thought about pushing. Especially not if it comes to a sport event for the broad mass. Plus the entrances were … uhm … well … small might not be the best word, but it’s the first word that comes to mind. All in all, adding up all the entrances from the side we approached the fanmile, a maximum of 10 people could get in at once.
Next step is to get a beer. I’ve been to many festivals and even in austria (I haven’t seen german festivals yet, but realiable people keep telling me that they’re better to a way beyond possible comparison from an organizational point of view) they manage to deal with the beer-demand. It’s easy: There are some stands who only sell beer. One size, one price. These stands usually have a 360-degree counter and a lot of beer in the center. There are 3-5 people working there, and what they do is easy: Some fill cups with beer. If there’s no one buying beer, they fill them before the actual demand is coming up. Some others hand out the beers and take the cash.
The great thing about that fascinating and really really new, revolutionary system is: IT WORKS. Even if 500 people want a beer at the same time you only have to wait a couple minutes and there you go. Now what did the clever Euro2008 organizers do?
They installed lots of stands. Every one of those sells lots of stuff: Beer, wine, candy, snacks. Every one was really really amazingly small (imagine a small hot-dog-stand), with 3 people working in there (pretty much like squeezing three people into one mobile toilet, just to imagine how nice it must be to work there). And they had another very nifty trick at their hands: First you line up to pay for whatever you want. What you get is a ticket. With that ticket you line up again at the same frickin stand and exchange the ticket for what you paid for.
You can’t imagine the lines. I saw them. They were ugly and scary and it took you about 15-20 minutes to get a beer. I think the organizers pretty much picked the wrong profession. Unfortunate that the times of torture are long gone, but hey – there’s still Guantanamo, so not all is lost for them.
Oh, there actually also was something good about the Euro. On the way home everyone was kinda depressed or something, with two exceptions. Some guys singing “we celebrate anyway”, which I found to be good. Because what annoys me about soccer is that the fans are … well … the niveau is usually rather low and singing choruses focus on attacking the other team. Great examples from today: When the initial lineups were presented the moderator always started saying the number and the first name of the player, waiting for the fans to add the last name.
Our austrian fan-friends decided that germany’s players all had the last name “asshole”.
When the opponent makes a good play usually you’d not expect fans to be happy bout it, but if they really liked the sport at least they’d admit that it was a good play. The soccer-community decided to comment – of course with the usual soccer-chorus-singing-like monotonous bullshit: “[insert opponents player name] – you son of a bitch”. Of course they only won because the referee was a stupid [insert offensive term] and they are nothing but [insert more offensive terms] luckers.
Uhm, I digress. The last, and for sure most positive, thing I happened to run into regarding soccer: A mother with her bout 8-9 year old son was walking down the street near my appartment. The boy was happily waving his austrian flag and, with a smile, he sung: “We’re great skiers la-lala-lala, we’re great skiers la-lala-lala”