The NFL tickled us with a treat this week, as Chicago took advantage of the new international marketing areas to host the Bears in London on Sunday.
What a fun night of action, and thanks for hosting us!
With the NFL going fully international this year, the league announced last year that they would allow certain teams to market directly to global fans.
The United Kingdom had six teams granted rights to perform this, with the Jaguars, Vikings, Dolphins, Jets, 49ers and Bears getting the royal treatment here.
This was the Bears first attempt at hosting one of these parties, and they did a lot of things right.
Flat Iron Party
The Bears opted to host the party in London’s Flat Iron area, just round the corner from London Bridge station.
While the area was popular when the NFL was in town, it did seem like a rather odd location given how quickly the area empties on a Sunday, as well as being hosted underneath the train tracks.
The hype was obvious at entry, as cheery marketing folk handed out raffle tickets, and encouraged fans to participate in some of the many trivia and cheer games they had prepared.
Some of the games were funny, some cheesy, and there were times fans just wanted the game back on as they battled the Lions, but the good nature of the event and £7 pints had Bears fans rollicking.
Bringing in the Bears hype man to host the event did bring a deep dish authenticity to the event, and he was genuinely surprised at just how damn knowledgeable UK Bears fans are at trivia.
The only wrong answers seemed to be displayed in the Bears game play.
Heading into the game, the Bears were a three point favourite over a Lions team bolstered by a win over the Packers last weekend.
The awkward tension was palatable in the room, as the Lions erased the Bears lead, despite the gutsy and emotional play of Justin Fields.
Despite the loss, UK Bears fans were playful to the few Lions fans who snuck in, possibly bouyed by beers, Bears and Bears swag.
Speaking of swag, while it looked like they brought plenty, it didn’t seem like it reached many of the fans, as Bears loyals were seen packing branded, paper drinks coasters into their pockets for a little bit of take home legacy.
Or maybe people just didn’t want to be reminded of a one point loss.
Bear Down Future
Scrolling the Bears forums, the main complaints from fans around the event stemmed from it being last minutes, and in London, alienating many UK Bears fans who either can’t travel on Sunday nights, or can’t afford London prices.
Rumours from the Bears marketing staff on hand is that there could be more of these viewing events across the UK in the coming months.
Make sure to watch this space, and we will let you know where and when you can Beardown this NFL season.
All in all, it was a fun night of football, and a good sign of things to come.