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Archive for the 'London 2010' Category


Mar 12 2010

Bridges, Towers and Eyes Oh My!

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During our final day in London we all took the opportunity to get out and enjoy the sights.  As Andrew posted earlier, a few students ventured out to see Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea F.C., in the morning.  I took the opportunity instead to head into central London to get some photographs of Big Ben, Parliament and the London Eye.


In the afternoon, most of us met up at the Tower of London for a tour.  After a week of pretty nice weather, despite it being cold, we were hit with spotty showers today.  Luckily during most of our visit to the Tower of London the sky was in happy mode and the sun was shining.  Others in the group went to Westminster Abbey, the London Eye and/or London  Bridge.


By then end of the afternoon we all ended up at Harrods.  Some of us spending a little more money than others, mostly on gelato, but it sure was worth it!


After a great week, I think we are all ready to get back to the states and finish off the semester.  We have created many new relationships along the way, which will carry on for years to come.  So long from London.

London Group

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Mar 12 2010

Stamford Bridge

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Hey ‘Cuse

Are you Tottenham?

Are you Tottenham?

Are you Tottenham in disguise?

Nice win Hoyas

Stamford Bridge

A few students had the chance to go out and take a tour of Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea F.C. Wish I had more time to go into specifics, but it was interesting to see adidas activation after seeing Nike at Emirates. As usual I won’t attempt to woo you with words but wow you with pictures. Sorry for the quick post, but I am off to do some sightseeing! Cheerio!
adidas on the seats
These are the machines they use to make the grass grow in the winter.

One response so far | Categories: London 2010

Mar 11 2010

The O2 Experience…

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Our fourth and final day of “getting our learn on” sure did not disappoint.

We had the morning off, which gave us all a chance to catch up on a little sleep after a busy first three days.  By 1:45 PM we were all at the O2 arena ready for another great presentation. It began with a tour of the dome, including walking around the entertainment concourse then a backstage tour through the actual arena. We were shown the VIP lounge where artists will go pre- and post- performance for a drink or to meet with guests. Our guides then took us to the club level to see the suites.  The O2 Arena is known to be the best entertainment arena in the world.


Two AEG executives spoke to us about sponsorship and facilities management. Raj who was the facilities geek, as he called himself, used to work at MSG and his first boss was Bobby Goldwater.  Small world, huh?

Raj was also a Syracuse grad, quite fitting for today considering Georgetown was squaring off against the Orangemen in the Big East Tournament.  Lucky for us, Georgetown pulled off a huge win!  You better believe we were following the game on the internet and cheering a little Hoya Saxa in London.

For dinner we all got together for “the last supper”.  Sadly tomorrow is our last full day in London but it has been a fantastic trip so far.  We all give big thanks to Matt, Allison, Kristen and Jimmy for making it a success!!

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Mar 11 2010

Craven Cottage

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This wasn’t on the trip, but a group of us decided to walk over to Craven Cottage home of the Fulham football team. This was a huge difference from Emirates Stadium because the grounds were situated literally in people’s backyards. It is hard to even think of a comparison in the states. The stadium was built in 1896 and it shows! I was shocked to find the capacity was only slightly over 25,000.


First, yes I am buying a scarf at every EPL ground I visit, and yes that is where most of my money has gone. Notice the black doorways behind me? Those are actually the entrances where fans scan their tickets. I personally would have to turn sideways to enter them! Certainly not built for Americans!

More video!

Another exceptional video by Joe George! Hopefully this will give you an idea of how crazy Emirates Stadium got during each goal at the UEFA game.

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Mar 10 2010

Visiting the agents…

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Today was pretty amazing; I don’t even know where to begin.  I’m not sure I can say it topped “the best day ever” but it sure came close or maybe even a tie.

We started off the day at James Grant, the top entertainment agency in the UK, discussing the rise of social media and its impact on entertainment industry and sports (one of my favorite things!).  This includes not only the importance of being active on social media sites but how to use them properly and to ones advantage.  Just as important is creating and holding positive relationships with the media.

london 158

With the recent crises surrounding athletes, crisis communication was a hot topic of discussion.  Everyone seems to believe that it is all well and good to have a plan in place, but every crisis is different.  It is a learning process and as you get more experience you get better at handling different and new situations.

The afternoon ended with an awesome presentation by Octagon UK.  Many of us know a lot about Octagon from our professors at Georgetown, whom work there, but every office handles different things and some things more than others.

After spending the past 4 days talking about and experiencing football, we changed it up a bit.  One of today’s topics was focused around American Football and the NFL.  Octagon UK plays a huge part in the support and activation of the annual NFL game that is played in London.  Londoners may not understand the game of American football but the NFL could potentially sell out this game 9 times.  These “fans” attend the game for its entertainment value; it is like Wembley turns into Vegas for the day.

london 161

We were lucky enough to have four different speakers at Octagon to hear about various divisions of work.  Other than the NFL in the UK we heard from: Athletes and Personalities, Brand Management (Mars and Nivea for Men), and the Olympics.  In the end we were all awarded with a special treat, a Mars bar, which is comparable to a Milky Way in the States.

It was a free evening for everyone, so a few of us used this as an opportunity to meet up with old friends that live or are visiting the area.  I personally had the chance to meet up with a good friend that I worked with last year at a boarding school in Northern England; there was a lot to catch up on!

One response so far | Categories: London 2010

Mar 10 2010

UEFA Champions League Game – Arsenal v. F.C. Porto

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To have expectations is to be disappointed.

Remember buying a Kerry Collins jersey in 2001, only to see the Giants lose the Super Bowl 37-7?

How about being thrilled to see Titanic and then realizing you already knew the ending (the ship sinks for those who haven’t seen it)?

For the 18 SIM students on the London trip, we were told a UEFA Champions League game would be unlike anything we ever saw. Our Dean, Matt Winkler, warned us to be polite to Arsenal fans as they would be extremely sensitive. Arsenal executive Tom Fox told us Saturday’s EPL game could not even compare. Even our Emirates Stadium tour guide Vic warned us of hooliganism (apparently a real and very serious problem over here).

So naturally we would be disappointed…

Yea… right.

I have seen Derek Jeter smash the first ever November home run in the World Series, watched David Tyree catch a ball through apparent divine intervention, and even seen the New York Knicks win a playoff game (no really, I have), but nothing, and I do mean absolutely nothing, can compare to what we saw at the Arsenal v. F.C. Porto game last night.

Passion… pure passion. Nicklas Bendtner, who was treated like a footy punching bag after missing a myriad of opportunities v. Burnley, became the hero of the night with a hat trick, which allowed Arsenal to advance in the UEFA tournament.

Currently it is 2 in the morning in London, so I can not explain to you much more about one of the best nights of my life, but hopefully my ear-to-ear smile below will do the trick…


Arsenal won the game 5-0 and advance to the next round of the UEFA Champions League.


I know a few MLS fans, particularly the front office at D.C. United, are following this blog, so I thought it would be appropriate to show you just how far this league has come! Look who Katie and I sat next to at the Arsenal game…


Joe Cannon, goalkeeper for the San Jose Earthquakes! Small world!

Here is a video of Nasri’s goal that sent Emriates wild… (courtesy of Mr. Stephen Goff at the Washington Post).


If you watch to the end you can hear the “Who Are You” chant… Kelly Leahey’s personal favorite!

2 responses so far | Categories: London 2010

Mar 09 2010

Global Brands…

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Today we had an awesome opportunity to meet with two organizations that do not normally meet with students, Nike and London 2012 – Olympic Committee.

Our first stop of the day was with Ziba, a Georgetown Graduate, who works as part of the Sustainable Business and Innovation group at Nike.  A great take away from this had nothing to do with Nike.  She talked about how taking opportunities to live and/or work abroad opens up your mind and creativity.  By stepping out of your comfort zone, it can open up more opportunities for the future.

After lunch we headed into the financial district for a meeting with Alex Balfour, the Director of New Media with the London 2012 Olympic Committee.  It was cool for us to meet with someone about the Olympics shortly after the finish of the Vancouver Games.  We were able to get his perspective on challenges he will face and how they are related to Olympics in the past and those of the future.  Balfour also spoke of some of his plans for the games, but as they are still two and a half years away, social media in this world will continue to change.  By 2012 more people will be using the internet and smart phones will be even “smarter”.


One thing that tied the two presentations together was that both Nike and London 2012 have initiatives to get kids engaged.  With the rise of obesity there has been a stress on getting people active.  There is an importance of sport in the world but when most people think of sport they think of professional athletes.  More important is to get people engaged on any level.  Ziba mentioned that girls who play sport are more likely to graduate from high school, which in turn, will likely lead to higher will pay.

We are now all getting bundled up for the UEFA Champions League game between Arsenal and F.C. Porto!!!

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Mar 08 2010

“the best day ever”…and it’s only Monday

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The consensus from the group after today was that it was “the best day ever”.

It was an early morning departure from the hotel but it was well worth it.  We started the day out at Parliament with a tour and meeting with an MP, whom sits on the committee of UK Sports Culture.  The tour of the Parliament building beats any tour I ever took of the US Capital.  We were taken onto the floor of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.  My favorite interesting fact from this was that there was an American who asked to buy the throne arrangement in the House of Lords for 10 Million GBP, but his offer was kindly rejected.  Can you guess who this guy was??  Only the late great, Michael Jackson!


After lunch we went back to Emirates Stadium where we met with Arsenal’s Chief Marketing Officer, Tom Fox, who is also an American.  This is what made today the best yet.  It was very cool for all of us to get his perspective on the England market and what makes soccer different in England from the United States.  Something that really hit some of us as a surprise is that when asked why he doesn’t use the upper board for sponsorships he was quick to respond that he likes the stadium as it is.  He feels comfortable with his current revenue streams and would not want to sell these spaces.


Before fans can purchase season tickets, or tickets of any kind they must become a member of the club.  This give the stadium a true community feel, say you are at a game and the guy that usually sits next to you or behind you isn’t there, you worry about him and wonder if everything is alright.  They don’t need tailgates in parking lots, promotions or fun gimmicks to convince them to go to come to a game.  A win means more to them than it does to Americans and their teams, it affects their whole lives, they really care who wins and loses in the end.


Many of us even noticed this at the end of the day when we were sitting down enjoying our fish and chips.  At 7:45 PM the Liverpool v Wigan game came on the TV and people were out and about to watch the game.  It was like Monday night football back in the states; only if you walk into a bar in the states when football is playing, you will see a majority of the people half watching the game-half in conversation.  Tonight, everyone that was there to watch the game was giving 100% of their attention to the TV, there was no conversation.

Tomorrow we all look forward to experiencing a soccer game of another level, UEFA Champions League; there is a lot more at stake.  Before we head back to Emirates Stadium for the 3rd and final time of the trip, we will make a stop at Nike-Social Responsibility and the London 2012 Olympic Committee.

One response so far | Categories: London 2010

Mar 07 2010

Wembley Stadium, Kebabs and Gooners

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Today the SIM students had a free day to head out and pursue their own adventures. A group of 14 decided to head out to Wembley Stadium in north west London for a behind-the-scenes tour of the 90,000 seat state-of-the-art facility. The 90 minute tour encompassed all aspects of the stadium including the press room, English National Team locker room, royal box and the player tunnel. I could sit here all night and explain about how much I saw, but lets have some pictures do the talking…

Group Wembley

SIM students gathered to take a picture in the stadium. If you look in the background you can see that the pitch is currently being rebuilt.


Kelly standing on Wembley Way. The giant arch over the stadium is actually supporting the roof covering the seats.


While waiting for the tour to begin a few students decided to play FIFA ’10 on X-Box. Yup, we travelled to another continent and are still playing video games!


This is the press room inside of Wembley Stadium. What you can’t see is the 100+ leather padded chairs for the press. The journalists get more comfortable seats than the people being interviewed! They call this the “hot seat.”


This never happens… a good picture of me! This photo is on field level. To get to this spot we were put into two lines and walked through the team tunnel. They played music and everything… it really felt like we were walking out to play in the FA Cup.


Luke with or …errr… embracing… the FA Cup. As you can tell a new football (soccer for those of you back in the States) fan has been born on this trip.


This is the crossbar from England’s 1966 World Cup victory at Wembley Stadium. To us, it was just a piece of wood, but for the Englishmen in attendance it was the most important object they ever saw.


Tonight the whole group met up for a delicious Thai dinner. We were joined for the first time by Jimmy Lynn, who will be with us for the rest of the trip. The dinner was delicious, but one particular delicatessen  has become quite popular with the students on this trip…


That is Kebab Machine and they make quite the Kebab.



Ashley, Erica and Kaitlin hit the town and did some shopping at Harrods. For these ladies shopping is a serious sport!


For the SIM crew Monday will be a busy day. At 7:20 a.m. we are meeting in the hotel lobby to head over to our tour of parliament! At 14:00 (2 p.m.!) we will be traveling back to Emirates Stadium for a tour and meet with Arsenal executives.

Speaking of Arsenal, the team added a whole new group of fans this weekend. After seeing the Arsenal v. Burnley match, the SIMers are hooked on footy! We are making a stop at the team store tomorrow to pick up our scarves for the UEFA Champions League game on Tuesday. Consider us American Gooners! We have been studying and practicing the Arsenal chants to be better prepared for Tuesday’s big game. We have been using the following video, shot by SIM student Joe George, as a study guide.

Joe George’s Who Are You Chant


(We really did not like the Burnley supporters)

Until tomorrow… Cheerio!

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Mar 06 2010

A day at the Emirates!

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Arsenal 1

Wow! What a game!  Arsenal started strong and dominated for most of the game.  Fans were on their toes often with many great crosses in front of the goal, unfortunately many sailed wide or over the top.  At the half, the match was 1-0 to Arsenal.  Quickly after the second half started, Burnley tied the match at 1-1.  Following a few misses, Arsenal finally went on top to stay.  Burnley didn’t let down and almost tied the game in the last 5 minutes.  In stoppage time, Arsenal added their final goal, so after 90 minutes of play, Arsenal beat Burnley, 3-1.

This was a really cool experience for the group.  Many of us had never been to a Premier League match before.  It is different than any sporting event experience in the US.  People don’t go to games for the entertainment value, they go simply to watch what is happening on the field.  There are no promotions and alcohol is allowed in the stands, although it is sold on the concourse.  The game is two 45 minute halves of pure soccer.


The fans from the visiting team are all seated in one section, which is lined with security.  Similar to sporting events in the US, fans from the opposing teams will taunt each other and shout chants at each other.  Arsenal fans had a few chants up their sleeve, Dean Winkler, who claims to be a longtime Arsenal fan, couldn’t even tell us what they were saying.

We all had an amazing day!  It is time to thaw-out after sitting out in the cold and fuel up with some good ‘ol fish and chips!  We are excited about a great week ahead of us and having the chance to get back to another Arsenal game!

Cheers from London!

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