Access All Areas October 2019 - Page 50

OCTOBER | THE COMMENTATOR Time for the Rugby World Cup Martin Fullard worries about time T he common Englishman thought he’d peaked last year when, in the fifth minute of the FIFA World Cup semi-final, Kieran Trippier smashed into the top right corner from a direct free kick. Scenes. Every England football fan across the land thought that we’d do it, that we’d make the final. But this being England, we bottled it at the worst possible moment and Croatia sailed through to the final. Reprieve for the English sports fan came in 2019. The England Cricket Team won the Cricket World Cup in the most dramatic fashion, with the last ball of the last superover giving the world one of the sport’s most dramatic moments in its history. Two major sporting events in two years, and England has done well in both, so it stands to reason that we should be bullish ahead of the Rugby World Cup which starts 20 September in Tokyo. However, the problem with global physics, and where the Flatearthers have the measure of us, is that time differences cause havoc with people’s viewing habits and, subsequently, event organisers looking to mark the occasion. The opening match, Japan vs Russia, (I wasn’t aware either of these two nations had rugby teams) kicks off at 11.45am Brisish Summer Time (BST), which in our office is the same time the DHL man normally arrives. England’s first match, against Tonga, kicks off at 11.15am BST, albeit on a Sunday, but some matches kick off as early as 5.45am BST. As anyone running a bar or fan zone will know, a lot of people, especially England fans, like to quaff an ale or two while cheering on their teams, but this is very difficult when you’re supposed to be giving a presentation on the last quarter at the same time. During a World Cup which airs during the evenings, it’s great to see bars all decked out in national flags and with astro turf on the floor and maybe some foam balls wedged on to the beer taps, and who doesn’t love a good fan zone, with its massive screen, deck chairs, and outrageously overpriced Corona? Making an event of a tournament is more popular than ever, and the UK events industry does it well. But how are we going to manage the Rugby World Cup and provide an immersive experience for people who will be at work while it’s happening? Let us know what you’re doing (going to Japan to watch it live doesn’t count). “Making an event of a tournament is more popular than ever, and the UK events industry does it well” 50