As I watched the European Cup Final the other day, I couldn’t help noticing the hundreds of empty red seats directly opposite the television cameras at the centre line. I knew that there were throngs of people without tickets who were storming the gates, trying to get in and yet here were all these empty seats. It made no sense.
It began to make sense, though, when I asked some of my British relatives to explain it to me at half time. They immediately responded that these were corporate seats assigned to the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) sponsors. One person suggested that the missing people were probably in the free bar and not watching the game at all.
This is not only infuriating, it presents the sponsors in a very bad light. Given that the English fans who behaved badly are getting a lot a negative press right now, I thought that this corporate bad behaviour should get some bad press, too. Someone should publish the names of the corporate sponsors that failed to use these highly-prized seats. At the very least, some journalists should give this shameful behaviour a mention.
I was unable to find any pictures of these empty seats when I did a Google search today, and that makes me suspect a cover-up. I wish I had taken some photos of them as they appeared on television, because evidence of their existence seems to have been removed from the news sources and image caches. Perhaps the corporations, sponsors, or wealthy individuals who own the seats were able to censor the bad impression they created.
I was able to find some pictures of similarly empty seats from previous years, and one Mail Online article from 2013 discusses Wembley’s inability to sell these 17,500 ten-year debenture seats for the £50,000 they had brought in during an economic boom. I was also able to find photos of a completely empty stadium, but none of the empty “posh” seats during the Euro 2020 cup final match.
It struck me that this vulgar display of disrespect is in some wiays representative of the class divide between the haves and the have-nots. Visually, it is an insult to all the working people who would have loved a seat anywhere in that stadium. The fact that these seats were in prime viewing locations just adds to the dismissive gesture. It says to the rest of us that if you have enough money you can take whatever you want, even if it is in short supply, and not even use it. Having hundreds of people resent you for it probably just adds to the sense of one-upmanship. If you, corporate donor, think this makes you a superior person, you could not be more wrong.
In several ways I also feel this economic elitism is a disgrace to humanity and all common virtues derived from “it takes a village” to move towards real equality, peace, and a sustainable Utopia. However, because we Homo sapiens are primates and descendants with ancient primate DNA—i.e. we are inherently selfish, greedy, and are easily pandered to—we have built economic systems, unfettered Capitalism is essentially only one step away from total Plutocracy and Oligarchy… as this rightful blog-post addresses, 😉 this Poshness flaunted and brashly exhibited during the Euros and the Final is a symptom and derivative of ALL modern sports today, especially in the world’s highly developed and wealthiest nations or unions. An introductory illustration of what I mean:
Notice how rampantly ELITE and capitalistic sports-competitions are in the U.S.? And because professional athletes today are indeed (and to varying degrees) rightly earning what the “market’s going rate/price-tag” should be—as a symbol of hard earned merit in a “free market”?—for individuals in sports and not just the Owners. This also goes for coaching staffs. And only recently have FEMALE athletes been allowed into this once highly exclusive patriarchal business! And lets not forget about African-American athletes too. I could go on and on with parts of the positives of modern-day lucrative sports leagues, franchises, sports corporations job-creation, etc, etc. But I won’t.
That said, however, we once primate humans have created a machine, a system, a runaway freight-train that has gained SO MUCH momentum now… it will be daunting (even costly?) to redirect this monster, let alone stop it. What IS unequivocally clear however, is that professional sports feeds many good, hungry monsters as well as unethical, self-absorbed, greedy monsters who are regularly enabled—season after season—to become bigger, wealthier Monsters. 🤦♂️
The real power lies with the people, the masses, the fans, spectators, streaming consumers with phones/computers, and TV viewers… IF they want it all to change, improve by more inclusion, or stop. I’ve been doing exactly that for over 20-years with my local NFL football team the Dallas Cowboys. I refuse in all possible ways and revenue streams for owner Jerry Jones to take my hard earned money from me while putting a mediocre product/team on the field for the last 25-seasons and subpar staff!!! 😡 I’ve even tried to get all of my fellow Cowboys fans-friends to do the same, but it never works or lasts long enough to actually HURT Jerry Jones where it hits hardest: his bank accounts. And yet every season since Jones bought the Cowboys franchise, he’s sold out AT&T stadium every game AND made the Cowboys brand one of the wealthiest in the world… which makes him personally wealthier year after year after year. 😔
Now, translate all of that over to UEFA and European football on that continent? See what happened to Europe’s “Super League” and those elite richest clubs? If the masses, all the fans unanimously organized and acted as one… then THIS that you’ve pointed out would not happen near as much.
Exactly! Earlier today I read an interesting article that points also to the way the commercialization of sports has affected our sense of community and civic pride.
That is an OUTSTANDING article Anne! Well done Ma’am. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂
You are most welcome.
Anne, in some ways now today it is probably too late for sports fans to impact how the modern game, modern ownership, and modern revenues & marketing are honorably and permanently bound to its FANS, especially its loyal fans. With the heavy weight now that tech-online streaming services carry—e.g. Amazon Prime, NBCSports, ESPN+, SkySports, etc, etc.—and American consumers as well as other national and continental consumers willingly PAY these corporations… I don’t see this sad, shameful problem getting better. If anything, with the way our techy-world and our complete addiction to all-things-electronic and super convenient, the big MONEY and monster REVENUE constantly gushing in for these sponsors… it will only get worse and that “class system” will be MORE prevalent, MORE dominate. 🤦♂️😔
Where there are people, there is power.
So very true Anne. NOW… if all those people would just REALIZE and BELIEVE that is true, and then collaborate as a well-oiled machine in peaceful action—i.e. not a psychotic mob that so often happens 🤦♂️—then that “village” we all need can function properly, not DYSfunction. 😉 😛