Public viewing parties have become increasingly prevalent in professional sports in recent years. Specifically, for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, television broadcasts often cut to public viewing parties when teams score goals. These large public viewing parties are usually for big soccer events. However, very seldom do we see public viewing parties for popular American sports like basketball, football, baseball or hockey. Instead in the US, we have watch parties at bars or restaurants. FanWide can help you find local watch parties for your favorite teams. Check out this previous post for A Definitive History of World Cup Game Watch Parties.
A very popular public viewing party location has been Heiligengeistfeld Square in Hamburg. On June 23, when Toni Kroos scored his late stoppage-time winner against Sweden, viewers all around the US were able to see the reaction of German fans in Heiligengeistfeld Square. The 1076 square foot screen in this square shows all the German Men’s National Team matches for the 2018 World Cup as well as other big matchups. Any fans can come to enjoy these matches for a small fee of 2 euros a person. Many other cities around the world are also hosting these sort of viewing parties for the 2018 World Cup.
That being said, not just any city with a big square can host a public viewing party. Organizations or cities had to apply to be granted a “public viewing license” for the 2018 World Cup. FIFA TV has to grant the license and also regulates the nature of all these public viewing parties. In addition, there is a small fee that hosts need to pay in order to obtain a public viewing license. The fee is based on the number of fans a venue can hold. The fee ranges from $1,000 up to $14,000 USD. A more in-depth look at regulations that public viewing party hosts must adhere to can be found here.
In addition to public viewing parties around the world, the host country, Russia, has various FIFA Fan Fests during matches. Essentially, these are public viewing parties outside stadiums being used to host world cup matches. For example, when there is match being played at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, there might be a FIFA Fan Fest where people in Rostov-on-Don, Russia can go to Teatralnaya Square and watch the match on a big screen while cheering on their team. To find out more about 2018 World Cup FIFA Fan Fests, click here.
Public viewing parties haven’t exactly become popular with American professional sports. The most notable example of this occurring in American sports takes place in Maple Leaf Square in Toronto. Maple Leaf Square is adjacent to the Air Canada Centre where the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors play. For important games, this square can get very packed with fans who gather to watch games on the big screen in the square. The square can hold up to 5,000 people which doesn’t come near the 50,000 capacity of Heiligengeistfeld Square in Hamburg. Hopefully, the public viewing parties in Toronto will be a starting point for them in all American sports
Right now, if you want to go enjoy the 2018 World Cup with fellow national team supporters or soccer fans at a local restaurant or bar, visit FanWide.