The Big Match-By: Casey Boland

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Today was our first full day in Cardiff, Wales. We got to see a bit more of the city center today including restaurants, shops, Cardiff Castle and the soccer stadium. Back in Dublin, I learned from some locals that the weekend during and after our visit to Wales was a very important weekend in the European sporting world. All of the guys at the pub were jealous to learn that we would be in Wales during what is known as the European Finals for the Champion’s League.

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Although I am not really a soccer fan–or football as it is known here–I am still a huge sports fan and loved seeing how crazy the city has been in preparation for this weekend’s game. Immediately upon entering the downtown area today we noticed tons of cameramen and photographers snapping pictures of the wall surrounding Cardiff Castle. As we neared closer to the castle walls, I noticed that the castle walls were covered in banners displaying the images and names of the players that will be dueling it out in this weekend’s match.

As we kept walking through the city for lunch and shopping, we kept noticing banners, posters, and other advertisements all advertising the big match, especially as we got closer to the stadium. I became curious at just how heavily advertised this match was so I began to ask around to find out a bit more about why this match was such a big deal.

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After asking around a bit, I learned that the European Final is comparable to the Super Bowl in the United States. Some would call this game, the biggest football game of the year. It’s the Spanish champions against the Italian champions. The favorite to win here in Wales seems to be Real Madrid. The Welsh’s best player is also a member of this team making Real Madrid the most talked about team on the streets of Cardiff.

After learning a bit more about the match for this weekend, I started to think about all of the different ways the match was advertised for. Knowing very little about European football and having only been here a day, it is incredible how much I was able to learn, which means the advertisers and marketers must have done their jobs well in getting me interested and excited about the match. I thought it was really intelligent of the advertisers to put banners on Cardiff Castle’s walls because it was scenic and also made the setting for the game seem more important and unique to the city even though it wasn’t a Welsh team playing. Putting the banners up also made the players seem a lot more real and personable, and lining the streets with banners announcing the Champion’s League finals made the match seem unavoidable and exciting. Even those of my friends on the trip who don’t care about sports seemed interested in the match after seeing all of the different ways it was advertised.

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Getting to see all of these examples of advertising as well as the news and other different media teams capturing images and footage of the preparation for the event made me feel as though I was a part of something big and exciting and it has only furthered my interest in advertising and made me look at real world applications of things I could be doing in the future.

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