Please don’t pack out our sporting events with suits

CORPORATE Seb Coe can wear a suit, but otherwise they are not welcome at sporting events
CORPORATE Seb Coe can wear a suit, but otherwise they are not welcome at sporting events
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In my experience, men in suits don’t cheer wildly.

They clap a bit, and occasionally high-five. But the ties and collars tend to get in the way of more exuberant displays of joy.

That’s why hospitality at sporting events really gets on my nerves.

Wooing the suits by giving them access to things like the Olympics and the Champions League final might entice them to spend a few extra pennies, but it robs the rest of us of the atmosphere generated by people who’ve actually paid for tickets.

Millions of people gambled thousands of pounds on trying to secure themselves a ticket to one of the many Olympic events that are set to keep sports’ fans happy next summer.

They had no guarantee that they’d get what they wanted. And they had to put multiple orders in just to stand a chance of getting something.

As a result, many of them have been left bitterly disappointed and I can’t say I blame them for feeling like that.

Personally, the Olympics bores me rigid. I can’t think of anything worse than watching a 100-metre sprint. The event is so fast – and frankly, so pointless – that watching paint dry would provide more long-lasting entertainment. But, as a nation, we’re expected to get behind the 2012 games and that means filling out that very expensive stadium which has been purpose-built for the occasion.

Yet you just know that large swathes of the stadium will be reserved for an assortment of celebrities, dignitaries and boring suit-wearing, middle-aged, businessmen.

My own experience as a regular at the British Grand Prix makes me very wary of that irksome little thing called corporate hospitality. Each year the real fans pay a hefty amount of cash to go to Silverstone, only to see the hospitality clients being given all the perks.

Five minutes before the race is due to start, they’ll file into their designated padded seats, put on their free colour- co-ordinated team caps... and then traipse out if the team they’re being wooed by suffers a crash early on.

They add nothing.

I sincerely hope that the Olympic committee has paid more attention to its own corporate hospitality strategy.