An Unexpected Trip…An Unexpected Victory!

After completing three weeks work experience with BAC Sport, I was offered the unique opportunity to accompany the team to Switzerland. For three days I was able to observe how the company provided bespoke services to a host of journalists from various newspapers, such as the Telegraph, who were attending the Switzerland v England qualifier for the 2016 UEFA European Championship, the first qualifier of the season. So not long after I was boarding a plane to Basel, Switzerland.

Once we arrived in Switzerland, we greeted all of the journalists and after ensuring everyone had their luggage, we boarded the transfer to the excellent Radisson Blu hotel, our home for the next two nights. During the short drive to the hotel, the clients received their hotel keys to ensure they had a smooth transition and could get settled in the hotel quickly.

Our schedule for the day was to attend the press conference to determine how the England team manager, Roy Hodgson, and newly appointed team captain, Wayne Rooney, were feeling about their teams prospects now after their disappointing performance at the World Cup 2014. The journalists were able to present the panel with questions about the upcoming match to gather information for their articles that would be published in the upcoming edition of their respective  newspapers. The only minor hiccup that occurred was when one of the reporters lent on the light switch, plunging the conference into darkness, much to the amusement of the attendees.

We then took the transfer BAC Sport had previously organised to attend the training session of the England team as they settled into the Swiss national stadium, St. Jakobs-Park. Here the journalists collected their exclusive passes to the stadium. They were entitled to watch 15 minutes of the training to get a feel for the performance of the team and see how the players are able to interact with one another. After this, security asked everyone to move to the media area at the back of the stadium where the journalists had the option to work on their pieces or return back to the hotel with the available coach. That evening we had the chance to appreciate the beautiful city of Basel and soak up some of the electric atmosphere created by those who had come to stay and were anticipating the big match as much as we were.

On match day, the journalists had the morning and afternoon to prepare for the match, which also gave BAC Sport staff some time to organise their other future sports events.  By the late afternoon two transfers had brought them all to the media centre at the stadium, BAC Sport staff members and myself accompanied them to ensure everything ran smoothly.  After mingling, the journalists then located their seats in the stadium to watch the game. Kiss-cam entertained the crowd before kick off, then the real action started and what a great game it was! England won 2-0 after over 90 minutes of cheering, chanting and singing from both teams supporters.  I have never been a keen football fan and have never been to a live match, but I thoroughly enjoyed the match and it was hard not to get caught up in the thrill of the game. I hope to go to more matches in the future, but it was very fulfilling to attend international matches and watch the friendly banter take place between the rival supporters.

After the crowds flooded out of the stadium, the journalists returned to the media centre for the post match press conference. The Swiss manager, Vladimir Petković commiserated over the unexpected loss of the match, followed by Roy expressing how proud he was at the English team’s victory. The managers were both asked various questions before the journalists began their finals edit on their stories to send off to be printed fresh for the next day’s paper. They all worked late into the night while the coach arrived on schedule to return the journalists back to the hotel, with a cheeky beverage to celebrate England’s triumph.

Tuesday morning arrived and it was time for BAC Sport’s staff to help the clients check out of the hotel and get back on to the coach for the final time to return home to the UK. I was thoroughly grateful for the chance to help BAC Sport run the event and to get my first experience in the sports event management industry, confirming in my mind this is the career I wish to pursue.

Written by Georgina Kiddy

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