NBC’s Premier League Fan Fest in Orlando, Florida was a huge success by all accounts. This was the eighth the broadcaster has held in the United States. And judging by the numbers, this might just be the best yet.
In what now becomes a staple of the American football calendar every year, the Premier League Fan Fest was unique for a number of different reasons.
First, the setting was ideal. The stunning backdrop of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures added to the event’s live footage. There was so much to see in almost every camera shot.
Second, the numbers continue to impress. According to NBC Sports executives we spoke to, 20,000 people have applied to attend the event (10,000 per day). Importantly, there were plenty of spots for the fans to spread out over the weekend, so everyone wasn’t confined to one spot. So despite the huge crowds it didn’t feel claustrophobic at all.
Third, the location of the festival Universal city walk meant that each of the 30,000 to 40,000 guests entering the two theme parks had to walk past the Fan Fest. As a result, more people stopped to watch what was happening, which helped increase the total number of people reaching the Fan Fest.
NBC’s Premier League Fan Fest: A massive event
Putting together a Premier League Fan Fest is no easy task. It takes months of planning and also involves many divisions of both NBCUniversal and the Premier League and its clubs.
“We started talking to [Universal Parks] about a fan party, [with] no dates in mind, in April said Lyndsay Signor, Senior Vice President of Consumer Engagement for NBC Sports. “So from April to May we got everyone on board in terms of organizing a Fan Fest [at Universal Studios].”
One of the unique aspects of the Fan Fest is that it is open to all Premier League clubs wishing to have visibility at the event.
“The Premier League is telling its clubs, ‘If part of your strategy is to grow your US fan base, this is the perfect opportunity to do that,'” said Kristin Hurst, Director of Consumer Engagement for NBC Sports. “Clubs do different things. Everyone wants to leave a mark with that fan base.”
Some clubs even bring animals onto the set.
It can get quite competitive between the Premier League clubs trying to outdo each other at the Fan Fest.
“We love that part of it,” Signor added. “The aim would be to have every club represented. That obviously costs resources from the club, but ultimately the goal is to have everyone here.”
Judging by the number of different jerseys worn by Premier League fans at the event, many of whom flew from all over the United States to attend, there were fans from every club in the Premier League. Some fans flew from as far away as Europe to be there.
And there were even a few celebrity sightings mingling with the crowd, including West Ham United supporter (and English film and TV actor) Ray Winstone.
Many of those in attendance were there to support their club, but also to see Rebecca Lowe, The 2 Robbies and Tim Howard in person.
Where the next Premier League Fan Fest is headed
“We continue to raise the bar,” Signor said. “We don’t expect all of them to increase in capacity. It really depends on the location and the city. For us, it’s about the best Fan Fest experience wherever we are.
“Many clubs and supporters clubs in cities pitch us continuously. The Atlanta fan base is very optimistic. A lot of people want us to go to the Midwest. Many people want us to come back.
“Anything is possible. We just have to digest these two [recent fan fests in Philadelphia and Orlando]. But there will definitely be another one.”
That sounds like music to the ears of football fans in the United States.
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