Imagine the Super Bowl, and then more than triple its worldwide viewership. That’s the UEFA Champions League Final, and it is by far the world’s most popular sporting event. 380 million people on average watch the Champions League Final every year on television, and this year the City of Cardiff is hosting the massive event at Principality Stadium.
Walking just a block in Cardiff and you would be made acutely aware of the severity of this event, with a massive media presence from the likes of American broadcast conglomerates ESPN and FOX, and European networks BT Sport ITV, Sky TV, and more. On top of the media networks, you’ll find that every street pole or flat surfaces is covered with some kind of advertisement reminding you of the match between Real Madrid vs Juventus.
Now, to nobody’s surprise following the Manchester Attack last week, the security and police presence in Cardiff, especially around Principality Stadium, is highly noticeable. What caught me off guard the most was how public law enforcement was with their security, specifically with facial recognition. Above is a van parked within a shopping area near the stadium that is equipped with facial recognition technology. In the United States it is (or at least should be) abundantly clear that law enforcement is using the same technologies, but how blunt law enforcement was about the situation in Cardiff caught me off guard.
Lastly, while America has no shortage of conspiracy theorists, and their ability to speak freely about their ideas is nearly limitless, I’ve never seen anything quite like this. The above image was taken at the Cardiff Civil Justice Centre, and the banner was attached TO THE BUILDING. Never, ever have I seen (private) propaganda be attached directly to a government office building, even if only temporary. Maybe free speech doesn’t cause cancer, but it certainly does create poorly designed banners.