Avid Beckham’s highprofile arrival in the United States has been touted as a new British invasion. Not since the Beatles has an Englishman caused such a stir. Yet, while there is no doubt that soccer is being transformed by a transatlantic invasion, in reality the main thrust is in the opposite direction.
The English Premier League (http://www.premierleague.com), which is avidly followed by a huge global television audience, is the most lucrative sports league outside the United States. From a low point during the 1980s, when the game in England was saddled with antiquated stadiums and vicious hooligans, the league has become the glamorous pinnacle of world soccer. The sport’s spiritual home, Wembley Stadium, reopened this year after a $1.5-billion reconstruction.
English soccer revenues already are staggering, and analysts see potential for dramatic growth in relatively untapped markets such as China, India, and, especially, the United States. It is this potential that has prompted several American tycoons to buy into some of England’s oldest soccer clubs.
Randy Lerner, owner of the Cleveland Browns, snapped up Aston Villa FC last year. Tom Hicks and George Gillett bought Liverpool FC in February 2007. Stan Kroenke, husband of Wal-Mart heiress Ann Walton, is said to be preparing a takeover of Londonbased Arsenal FC. The Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, controls Manchester United, the world’s biggest soccer club.
The origins of soccer — or football — go back at least to the Middle Ages, when inhabitants of neighboring villages would battle to kick a ball through goals often placed several miles apart. The sport was refined over the years, until a professional league was formally established in England in 1888. Many of the inaugural clubs are still playing today.
Unlike American sports franchises, English teams rarely relocate to other cities. Local support is fanatical, and when neighboring rivals play each other, the atmosphere is intense. So much for English reserve.
The season runs from August until May. League fixtures are usually played on Saturdays or Sundays, while the top four teams from the previous season also play in the European Champions League (http://www.uefa.com) on weekday evenings. Match tickets usually cost upwards of $60. For the London clubs and Manchester United, sellouts are common.
If you can’t get to a game, the next best thing is to watch a match in a pub. If the local favorites are involved, the passion will be palpable. Although some of the finer points of the game can appear impossibly complicated for the uninitiated, the fundamentals are very easy to follow. It is soccer’s inherent simplicity that has earned its place as the world’s most popular sport.
When doing business in England, asking your contacts which football team they support can be a great icebreaker, and might even lead to an invitation to a match. For me, now that the season is underway again, life is lived to the rhythms of Sunderland (http://www.safc.com).
For the new American soccer tycoons, England’s national sport is a revelation. After one dramatic Liverpool match this year, George Gillett said, “This is so much bigger and so much more important to so many people than we could ever have imagined. Nothing can compare to it.”
Princess Premier, a new add-on recently launched by Princess Cruises, offers cruise-goers unlimited WiFi, premium/top-shelf beverages, photos and more. The new offer builds off the popular Princess Plus add-on to bring guests a more comprehensive bundle and savings of more than 50 percent when all the amenities are purchased separately.
Start planning that long-awaited trip to the island of Ireland. With all travel restrictions now lifted, there has never been a better time to visit.
Recently, NoMo SoHo and its ownership, real estate and investment firm Sapir Corp Ltd., launched a curated NFT program, making NoMo SoHO the first hotel in the United States to offer guests an innovative way to book stays using blockchain technology.
From Aug. 9 to 17, Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, will vibrate to the sound of the world’s favorite Elvis Presley tunes as Elvis Week 2022 gets underway. This year’s event will be a fun-filled mashup of tributes, concerts, special events and celebrity appearances, including actress Barbara Eden, who starred with Elvis in the 1960 film Flaming Star and became a household name for her lead role in the long-running television series I Dream of Jeannie.
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What happens when three of the six French nationals residing in San Antonio get together? If they happen to be from a long line of proud French gourmands from three different regions of the country, they take what they know and make it something proudly Texan, while still adhering to their separate and collective culinary roots. That’s exactly what happened as a result of those three — Executive Chef Laurent Réa of Strasbourg, Philippe Placé of Chartres, and Jérôme Sérot of Lyon — meeting 20 years ago.
With a network of more than 450 independent luxury advisors, Travel Edge, the North American leader in luxury travel, released a report on its findings for travel trends in 2022. No doubt the pandemic can be blamed as the main culprit behind many of these changing trends in travel, with travelers attempting to regain moments lost over the last two years.
Global business travel is making its way back, even as the pandemic and other world events continue to challenge its return. In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association, more than four in five respondents (86 percent) from across the industry said they feel more optimistic than they did at the beginning of the year. Business travel bookings, the need to travel to do business and employee willingness to travel are all on the rise.
Nobu Barbuda is underway in the Caribbean, the newest installation to the Nobu Hospitality portfolio. The Nobu restaurant, all conceived by actor Robert DeNiro, debuted in 2021, and Nobu Barbuda’s first beach club opened this year.