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More female fans, big screens among good World Cup changes

More female fans, big screens among good World Cup changes

Ian Musgrave ought to know how the World Cup has changed from the viewpoint of a fan.The violence has died out, said Musgrave, who attended six European Championships as well as five World Cups. And a lot more women are interested - even his wife wears England colors and watches the games, which never used to be the case.
"This World Cup is the best, the best policed, the best atmosphere" said Musgrave, a plasterer from Rochdale in England. "Yesterday, I went to the toilet at the Germany game in Berlin and the women's queue was longer than for the men. You used to walk right in there- there were no ladies."
Women viewers made up 40 percent of the worldwide television audience for the Germany World Cup - a record, according to FIFA. That helped the planet's biggest sporting event crack 30 billion viewers for the first time.
Outdoor viewing reduces friction
Women were especially present at the 300 official big screens across Germany, where fans across the globe gathered to party and watch the games. They chanted with the men and turned flags from across the globe into shawls, hats, miniskirts and seemingly every piece of clothing imaginable.
"The big screens, fantastic - where else can you party peacefully with so many people from all over the world?" said Corinna Krause, who drove four hours from Bremen to join more than 750,000 revelers at Berlin's fan mile.
For Musgrave, they solved an old problem which plagued the World Cup.
"People didn't have any place to go when they didn't have a ticket, so they just hung around the stadiums. That's where you got a lot of the trouble, when they tried to get in somehow," he said.
World Cup organizers predicted seven million would watch matches at the big screens; by the quarterfinals the spectators had already topped 11 million. They fit perfectly to another growing phenomena, World Cup tourists, or fans who come without tickets to the host country just to soak up the atmosphere and party at soccer's showcase.
"It's incredible - when you are here you feel the energy so much more than at home," said Guus Wantia, who drove from Amsterdam to be in the midst of 35,000 English fans who watched their team's bitter loss on penalties to Portugal on a big screen in Gelsenkirchen.
Musgrave was at the 1988 European Championships held in West Germany and found the country unfriendly. This time, he was impressed with how helpful and warm the hosts were.
His view was backed by a poll of 4,000 visitors attending games. Half gave the Germans a perfect grade of 10 for friendliness.
"We heard the Germans were cold, but it wasn't true" said Blas Castillo of Brazil. "It was well organized and easy to travel around the country, but it was mostly the people - the Germans were great."


Updated : 2021-10-19 19:33 GMT+08:00