Sea of hats and flags

So, by the time this article will be out, the Canucks will have defended their dream in the NHL playoffs. Whether they will have succeeded or not, I let the experts debate on their over-analysed forecast and solid theories. I just know that for this qualifying game, the green and blue jerseys have invaded Vancouver’ streets and offices, and made some fans stronger believers and highly motivated human beings, somehow more passionate about their hockey team (hopeful to re-live the final of the Olympics last year) than they are about the Canadian federal elections coming up next week. Go figure. Luongo may be as popular in Vancouver as Kate Middleton is in England. Definitely not in the same category though!

What is the big deal, you may ask. Apart from the marketing madness around any of these two events, they both create an incredible buzz and see crowds gathering wearing the same colours, some with funny hats, other with classy ones. What fascinates me is the logistics around that kind of event: thinking of recruiting and selecting the volunteers, curious and so proud of being part of History, tourists who have booked their trip ever since the date was set, crossing the world to just be there, the corporate hospitality and other event management companies getting ready to tackle a massive event, the caterers getting excited on serving the best of the succulent, and the security corral.

The wedding of the century seems to encourage over-the-top, and sometimes realistic, speculations. Having lived in Canada for over a decade now, I can guess how many Canadians will watch the ceremony (even starting at 03:00 PST on the West Coast), knowing how many of them are already addicted to Coronation Street (50 years-old and not one wrinkle!). Although, the soap’s blog page makes a point of being a royal wedding-free zone: odd and unexpected, or just on a different path, not attracting the same audience? The 12,000 journalists appointed to cover the wedding are likely rehearsing and looking for any detail they could share the day of the event. The broadcasters must have ensured that the feed will not be interrupted, not even for one second, and shots of a sea of flags and other royal wedding merchandising can be captured. Thanks to Accessible Media even blind and low-sighted Canadians will have access to the glamour and glitz of the big day through a VoicePrint service. Pretty impressive, and inclusive too: my hat off to the AMI’s crew (some of them being volunteers).

Now, putting such an event together logically has a cost. Estimates seem to confirm that British taxpayers will pay a mere £ 20M, as thousands of security officers will earn double time for working on a bank holiday (yes, the wedding has been declared a bank holiday: at that rhythm, why not!). Not sure if the magnitude is comparable, yet the security for the 2010 Olympics was shy of $ 900M (in 2010 Canadian dollars). Not sure how much their hats cost, and we sure saw a lot of them.