When it comes to watching the World Cup, most of us are content to enjoy it in the comfort of our own home; put the kettle on, curl up on the sofa and enjoy the game on our own terms. For others, it’s important to view the game in a more exciting, buzzing atmosphere, such as at the pub or, indeed, at the event itself.
Now the best of both worlds has been combined in Berlin in an ingenious plan that lets football fans have their cake and eat it too – provided they don’t mind a little heavy lifting beforehand. Welcome to the Weltmeisterschaft Wohnzimmer.
For those who don’t speak German, that means World Cup Living Room, and it’s almost exactly what it sounds like. Every four years the World Cup is screened at venues all across Germany for those who can’t make it to the game but wish to watch it in a stadium setting.
FC Union Berlin took this idea one step further, though. After all, why can’t a stadium offer all the comfort of home? Fast-forward to last Thursday’s opening Brazil vs Croatia match where there was a real sight to behold at Berlin’s Alte Foersterei stadium. Imagine hundreds and hundreds of sofas all lined up, seating over 12,000 fans, as they, quite literally, make themselves at home.
Fans were encouraged to bring their own sofas to the screening but FC Union Berlin added its own touches to really create a homely feel; tables and lamps were provided, whilst 3500 squares metres of wallpaper was put up to complete the image.
The idea came about when Gerald Ponesky overheard fans singing about football being their home, which inspired him to literally bring part of their home to the matches.
Overall the move was a huge success. Thousands of football fans eagerly brought their own sofas so they could lounge around and put their feet up whilst watching the game on the stadium’s 700-inch screen.
It all adds up to a unique yet strangely familiar experience. There’s nothing like the exciting atmosphere generated by a crowd at a public screening, but the chance to take it all in while relaxing on your own sofa has proven to be a hit with thousands of fans.