57,000 Runners to Compete in Paris Marathon

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Schneider Electric Paris Marathon will be held in Paris, France, on Sunday 9 April 2017. The event is open to runners born in 1997 or before.

The Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris offers fitness junkies a rare chance to run through the tree-lined streets of the world’s most beautiful metropolis.

Participants will begin their epic journey through the French capital at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe.

France_Arc_de_triomphe_Paris_Photo_Credit_Sese_IngolstadtThe route will take runners along the Champs Elysées, around the Place de la Concorde, and onto the Rue de Rivoli.

They will run past the Louvre, along the shores of the River Seine, and then through a series of tunnels.

They will run past world-famous landmarks such the Place de la Bastille, the Bois de Vincennes, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower.

They will pass through the Bois de Bouylogne before reaching the finish line on Avenue Foch.

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With a distance of 42.195 kilometers and 57,000 runners from nearly 145 countries, the marathon is one of the world’s biggest marathons.

More than 40%, or 23,000, of the runners will be visiting France from other countries.

The first Paris Marathon was held in 1896. The current Paris Marathon dates back to 1976.

Unlike marathons in other cities, runners wanting to take part in the event should have an FFA or FFTri sport license or a medical certificate indicating that they are suitable to take part in the competition.

The Salon du Running fair at Porte de Versailles will be held three days before the marathon, attracting more than 80,000 visitors 200 professionals from the running world.

Airline Employees Scout Route

Five employees of Air France jump-started the event in February.

Calling themselves The Scouts, they ran the race ahead of everyone else to help participants in the marathon prepare for the annual event.

The Scouts spent more than four hours taking in turns to identify the difficulties and particularities of the course.

Their observations, alerts. and tips have been compiled in a special website for all those participating in the marathon on 9 April 2017 – http://www.marathontips.airfrance.fr.

The Scouts have also compiled a post-marathon programme with a selection of recommended activities and routes around Paris for runners to enjoy during their post-race recovery.

These include swimming a few lengths in the legendary Molitor swimming pool or climbing up to Montmartre, avoiding the steps!

To ensure you’re in tip-top condition for your marathon, running blogger Anne Dubndidu and The Scouts by Air France will be hosting a live Air France Facebook page event on 5 April at 4:40 pm.

Frequent Flyer Programme

Air France-KLM Group’s frequent flyer programme, Flying Blue, is offering offers members numerous benefits to indulge their passion on their trips.

They can use their miles to register for the airlines’ partner races and marathons, as well as access to the “Air France Flying Blue Running” private area at the departure and arrival points on the day of the race.

Real Madrid Airliner Takes Off on Global Journey

aviation-realmadrid-emirates_04An Emirates Airline Airbus A380 landed at Spain’s Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas Airport on 16 March 2017 with larger-than-life images of some of Real Madrid’s most popular footballers on the fuselage.

Massive images of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, and Marcelo are pictured toward the rear of the fuselage on both sides of the aircraft.

The airplane is expected to fly to most of the airline’s 46 travel destinations on five continents in the coming months, giving Real Madrid fans a chance to take pictures of the colorful aircraft.

Included will be airports in the United States, where Real Madrid will be traveling this summer.

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Emirates became the partner and official airline of Real Madrid in 2011. It has been the official main sponsor of Real Madrid since 2013. The sponsorship runs through the end of the 2017 – 2018 season.

Under the agreement, the Fly Emirates logo appears on the front of Real Madrid’s uniforms.

There is also a branded VIP lounge at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, where the airline has additional hospitality, branding, and advertising rights.

Considered one of the world’s most successful football franchises, Real Madrid has a global fan base of an estimated 500 million fans.

The club was estimated to be worth US$3.65 billion in 2015. It was the world’s highest earning football club in the 2014-15 season.

The team has won a record 32 La Liga titles, 18 Spanish “Copa del Rey” Cups, eight Spanish Super Cups, a record nine UEFA Champions Leagues, two UEFA Cups, one UEFA Supercup, and three Intercontinental Cups.

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Emirates has a long history of partnering with sports teams and sporting events.

Pele and Cristiano starred in the airline’s global campaign to connect sports fans around the world in 2014.

In tennis, Emirates becomes the Official Airline of the US Open and title sponsor of the Emirates Airline US Open Series in 2012.

Emirates becomes the Team Sponsor of cricket’s Indian Premier League side Deccan Chargers in 2012.

Emirates and the Victoria Racing Club announced a new five-year sponsorship agreement in 2011.

Emirates was part of celebrations in South Africa an Official Partner of the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

Arsenal Soccer Schools Dubai – a joint venture between Emirates and Arsenal – opened its doors in 2009.

Emirates entered into a $195 million partnership deal with Fifa – the world governing body of football –and also bought the rights to screen every match played at the Germany World Cup on flights in 2006.

Emirates signed a £100 million deal with English Premiership side Arsenal in 2004, which included naming rights to its new stadium for 15 years and shirt sponsorship for eight years, starting from the 2006/07 season. Arsenal played its first match at the new Emirates Stadium in 2006.

Emirates signed a £24 million deal to sponsor English Premiership football club Chelsea for four years in 2001.

Emirates sponsored the Melbourne Cup, the biggest meeting in Australia’s horse racing calendar, and the nation’s cricket team at the World Cup 1999.

Emirates became title sponsor of the world’s richest horse racing event – the Dubai World Cup 1996.

Founded in 1985, the airline launched service to Madrid in 2010. Barcelona was added in 2012.

With a fleet of 93 Airbus A380 aircraft, the airline has the world’s largest A380 fleet. The airline has a pending order for 49 additional A380s.

The airline also has the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 777s.

Click here for more information on Emirates Airline.

A Sports Fans Guide to Houston, Texas

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Space Center Houston. Photo Credit: NASA.

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Houston

Houston, Texas, is a fascinating city with lots of fun things for visitors to see and do. There are great museums, beautiful parks, wonderful restaurants – and don’t forget Space Center Houston! Here’s your quick guide to the Bayou City!

The New England Patriots of the American Football Conference will take on the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football Conference in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, on 5 February 2017.

This might be the biggest day of the year for sports fans in the United States – the country virtually comes to a standstill on Super Bowl Sunday.

But what should you do if you find yourself in the Bayou City on game day and either …

Your team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl so you don’t care who wins or

You don’t like American football?

But there’s another possiblity. Maybe you DO like American football and maybe you DO have a ticket to the Super Bowl.

But you’ve come all this way to Houston and you don’t know what to see and do.

Hopefully this quick guide to Houston will give you some Houston trip ideas.

10 Best Things to Do in Houston

I’ve put together a list of 10 things to see and do in Houston for non-sports fans on Super Bowl Sunday – and for sports fans on Super Bowl Weekend.

If you’re a non-sports fan, you’re luck because you’ll have some of these places all to yourselves on Super Bowl Sunday because most Houstonians will be either at home or at a sports bar glued to a television screen.

By the way, all of these places are worth visiting ANY time you’re in Houston.

This list is NOT just for sports widows.

  1. Space Center Houston
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Apollo 17 at Space Center Houston. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are at the heart of Space Center Houston.

There are space artifacts, Including the world’s largest collection of moon rocks and other lunar samples on public display, as well as permanent and traveling exhibitions, within this 250,000 square foot complex.

Attractions include the Galileo Shuttlecraft, Independence Plaza, Mission Mars, Space for Art, Saturn V at Rocket Park, NASA Tram Tour, Building 9, Historic Mission Control, International Space Station, Stellar Science Show Living in Space – the list goes on.

Shopping

The complex has two gift shops selling NASA and Star Wars souvenirs as well as other kinds of space-related items.

Food + Beverage

The complex has two food and beverage outlets. The Zero-G Diner serves everything from salads and sandwiches to vegetarian dishes, pizza, and hamburgers.

The complex also has a full-service Starbucks.

Where

SPACE CENTER HOUSTON, 1601 NASA Parkway, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (281) 244-2100.

When

Open daily, 10 am – 5 pm; extended seasonal hours. Closed Christmas Day.

1940 Air Terminal Museum

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1940 Air Terminal Museum. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Housed in the original Art Deco terminal of Houston Municipal Airport, this museum would be my first stop on a tour of Houston. I’m a life-long aviation buff, you see!

Showcasing the history of civil aviation, the museum occupies the terminal’s ground floor.

There are galleries devoted to the DC-3, aviation art, period photographs, model airplanes, artifacts, aviation uniforms, and more.

Restoration of the upper floors, including the observation decks and tower cab, is pending.

Shopping

The museum’s gift shop sells a selection of aviation books, memorabilia, posters, toys, and other aviation related products.

Food + Beverage

The museum does not have a food and beverage outlet. What a great addition that would make!

Where

1940 AIR TERMINAL MUSEUM, 8325 Travelair Street, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 454-1940.

When

Open 10:00 am –  5:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday; 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Sunday; closed Mondays.

Downtown Aquarium

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Downtown Aquarium. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

Fire Station No. 1 and the Central Waterworks Buildings have been repurposed into one of downtown Houston’s most exciting tourist attractions: The Downtown Aquarium.

This six-acre entertainment and dining complex houses more than 200 species of aquatic life from around the world.

There are numerous exhibits. Amusement park rides include a shark voyage, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, a lighthouse dive, and a frog hopper.

Shopping

The Treasure Chest Gift Shop sells clothing, stuffed animals, toys, and various other aquatic related merchandise.

Food + Beverage

An underwater restaurant is surrounded by 150,000 gallons of water. Dishes run from seafood to steaks, chicken, salads, pasta, and mouth-watering desserts.

DOWNTOWN AQUARIUM, 410 Bagby Street at Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 223-FISH (3474).

Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 10 am – 9 pm; Friday – Saturday, 10 am – 11 pm; ours adjusted seasonally: occasional early closures or late openings may occur due to private events.

Buffalo Bayou Park

Houston's Buffalo Bayou Park
. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Hike, bike, jog, or boat your way through this 160-acre oasis in middle of the nation’s fourth largest city.

Attractions include a skate park, a dog park, the Houston Police Officers Memorial, Wortham Foundation Grove, a bat colony with 250,000 Mexican free-tail bats, the Lost Lake – the list goes on.

Where

From Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street between Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive.

When

Lighted areas, 6 am to 11 pm; other areas, dawn to dusk.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

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Houston Music of Natural Science, Paleontology Hall. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

The museum has more than 16 permanent exhibitions including collections on life science, earth science, paleontology, discover works, and space science.

There is also a planetarium, a butterfly center, a giant screen theatre, and an observatory.

Shopping

The MuseumStore sells a wide variety of apparel, items related to current exhibits, gems and minerals, office equipment, and other items.

Food + Beverage

The museum does not have any food and beverage outlets.

Where

HOUSTON MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE, 5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 639-4629.

When

Open daily, 9 am – 5 pm; extended summer hours, 9 am – 6pm; hours subject to change for holidays, special exhibitions and other events; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Houston Zoo

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Houston Zoo, boy feeding a giraffe. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

Amphibians, aquatic animals, birds, mammals, and reptiles are all represented at the Houston Zoo.

There is an African Forest, an aquarium, and a children’s zoo.

There are animal encounters, you can feed the giraffes, and you can observe carnivores, elephants, primates, and sea lions.

Shopping

The zoo has three gift shops scattered about the grounds.

Located at the entrance of the African Forest, the Herzstein Trading Post sells ice cream, cookies, brownies, floats, soda, slushes, and coffee.

Located near the exit of the African Forest, the African Forest Gift Shop sells a selection of stuffed animals, hand puppets, and other gifts related to the animals of Africa.

The Main Gift Shop is situated near the exit of the zoo, which means you won’t have to lug around your purchases.

The selection includes T-shirts, souvenirs, adorable stuffed animals, animal-related gifts, and other items.

A selection of handicrafts from the zoo’s conservation partners in other countries is also on offer.

Food + Beverage

The zoo also has three eateries with indoor and/or outdoor seating.

The Macaw Café served seasonal salads, sandwiches, and wraps as well as hamburgers, hotdogs, pizzas, French fries, parfaits, cookies, trail mixes, and fresh fruit.

Overlooking the Duck Lake, Cypress Circle serves hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs, snacks, desserts, sodas, a variety of beers, and frozen alcoholic beverages

Twiga Café offers indoor and outdoor seating with everything from salads and hamburgers to chicken, pizza, children’s favorites, and various snacks.

Karts and kiosks selling snacks such as hotdogs, nachos, pretzels, popcorn, fresh fruit, cotton candy, sodas, water, snow cones, and other treats are scattered around the zoo’s grounds.

Where

HOUSTON ZOO, 6200 Hermann Park Drive, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 533-6500

When

Open daily, 9 am – 6 pm; extended seasonal hours; last entry one hour prior to close; closed Christmas Day.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

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Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

The museum has several collections covering such aras as the arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, American painting and sculpture, antiquities, the arts of Asia, decorative arts, craft, and design, European art – the list goes on.

There are also two house museums and temporary exhibitions.

Shopping

The MFA Shop sells a selection of “artful “gifts, prints, jewelry, books, toys, and other items. Shoppers can enter the shop without having to pay admission to the museum.

Food + Beverage

The MFA Café serves an Italian inspired menu with “Texas flare”. There is a European style coffee bar and a kids menu.

Where

MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON, 1001 Bissonnet Street, Museum District, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 639-7771.

When

Tuesday – Wednesday, 10 am – 5 pm; Thursday, 10 am-9 pm; Friday -Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm;

Sunday, 12:1 5pm -7 pm; closed Mondays (except federal holidays), Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

Kemah Boardwalk

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Entrance to Kemah Boardwalk. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

Located 20 miles from downtown Houston, Kemah Boardwalk is a traditional waterfront amusement park with rides, a midway, and games.

Included is a boat tour into Galveston Bay, a wooden rollercoaster, a stingray reef and rain forest exhibit, a Ferris wheel, a train, a double decker carousel, and a mini-Ferris wheel for the kids.

Shopping

The boardwalk has several kiosks and retail shops selling a variety of merchandsze.

Food + Beverage

The boardwalk has several eateries, with an emphasis on seafood. But you will also find outlets serving everything from steaks, pizza, and Mexican food to coffee, ice cream, and popsicles.

Accommodation

If you would like to spend the night, the boardwalk has one hotel: The Boardwalk Inn.

The hotel has 52 rooms overlooking Galveston Bay and a swimming pool..

Where

KEMAH BOARDWALK, 215 Kipp Avenue, Kemah, Texas. Telephone: (877) 285-3624; (877) AT-KEMAH

When

Open 363 days a year. Amusement rides and restaurant hours vary depending on the season; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

San Jacinto Museum of History and Battleship Texas

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San Jacinto  Memorial. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Located 20 mile east of Houston, the battleground of San Jacinto is where Texas won its independence from Mexico.

Here, you will find the San Jacinto Monument, which bears a resemblance to the Washington Monument in Washington, DC – until you get up close! There is a Lone Star on toip! ;

There is also the San Jacinto Museum of History and Battleship Texas.

Shopping

The museum has no gift shop.

Food and Beverage

The museum’s all-you-can-eat restaurant has closed.

Where

SAN JACINTO MUSEUM OF HISTORY, One Monument Circle, La Porte, Texas. Telephone: (281) 479-2421.

When

9 am to 6 pm daily (museum and battleground d state historic site); 9 am – 5.45 pm (observation floor); 10 and – 5 pm (Battleship Texas).

Children’s Museum of Houston

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Entrance to the Children’s Museum of Houston. Photo Credit: CITYpass.

The museum has an interactive format, with exhibits designed to engage children to a variety of innovative activities.

Shopping

The museum has no gift shop.

Food + Beverage

The museum has one eatery, the Fresh Café, which features hamburgers, corn dogs, hotdogs, pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, grilled chicken, chef’s salads, and fruit salads.

Where

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF HOUSTON. 1500 Binz Street, Museum District, Houston, Texas. Telephone: (713) 522-1138.

When

Summer (Memorial Day-Labor Day): Monday – Saturday, 10am-6pm; Sunday, noon – 6 pm; Thursday, 10 am – 8 pm; non-summer: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm; Sunday, noon – 6 pm; non-summer: open select Mondays (check website); closed New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.

How to Get There

Houston is served by two major airports. The larger of the two airports, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is 23 miles north of downtown Houston.

The airport is a major hub for United Airlines. A total of 25 domestic and international carriers serve the airport.

Foreign air carriers are especially well-represented at the airport.

William I. P. Hobby Airport (HOU) is located 7 miles south of downtown Houston.

Southwest Airways is the airport’s biggest operator. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines also serve the airport.

Where to Eat in Houston

From fine dining to cheap eats, Houston is full of great places to eat.

You will find everything from seafood to Mexican to Vietnamese, Italian to Chinese to Indian.

And don’t forget that mouth-watering barbecue, Tex-Mex, Creole, and Cajun.!

Find the perfect place to eat at TripAdvisor.com.

Where to Stay in Houston

Houston is full of lodging, from luxurious five star hotels to convenient motels.

You will also find bed-and-breakfasts, vacation rentals, and other types of specialty accommodation.

Find the perfect place to stay in Houston at TripAdvisor.com.

There are plenty of places in Houston to have fun. Start making your travel plans now!

If You Go to Houston …

You can save 50% off admission to five of Houston’s top attractions if you buy CITYpass.

And you won’t have to rush, either, because the pass is good for nine consecutive days starting with your first day of use.

Not only will you save money, you will also save time because you will be able to skip many ticket lines.

If you purchased tickets to these five attractions, you would pay US$112.98.  With CITYpass, you will pay US$56 – a US$56.98 saving.

The savings on a child’s entrance fees would be US$38.24.

What’s Included

You will get a book of tickets providing entrance to …

  • Space Center Houston
  • Downtown Aquarium
  • Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • Houston Zoo OR Musuem of Fine A|rts, Houston
  • Kemah Boardwalk OR Children’s Museum of Houston

Buy Houston CITYpass now!

 

 

Sad Day for Football Fans in San Diego

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The San Diego Chargers are about to be swept into the dustbin of history.

According to Dean Spanos, Chairman of the soon to be re-christened Los Angeles Chargers, the American football team will call StubHub Center, a stadium on the campus of the California State University at Dominguez Hill in Carson, California, home until a permanent venue is either built or found.

The team has already adopted a new logo, a stylized thunderbolt version of the initials L.A. in a bid to win the hearts of Angelinos.

Will football fans in the City of Angels embrace the new logo? And what about the fans in San Diego? How will they feel about it?

If the Chargers had any hopes of maintaining the allegiance of their fans in San Diego, that new logo was the marketing faux pas of the century.

The fact that the new logo was revealed on the same day that the announcement of the team’s departure was made only added serious insult to serious injury.

It was not only callous, it was cruel. It was also incredibly stupid.

The team could have softened the blow by trying to reposition itself as representing all of Southern California.

“We’re only moving 90 miles north because we couldn’t get a stadium deal done in San Diego, but we’re still your team.,” they could have said.

Instead they have alienated the long-suffering fans in San Diego, whose team has never been much of a success on the field except for their first few seasons as charter members of the American Football League in the early 1960s.

Sense of Betrayal

The Chargers have shown their true colours, and they’re not blue and gold.

As an Oakland Raiders fan from the get-go, I remember the sense of betrayal I felt when I learned that the team I grew up with had left my home town for the nation’s second largest television market.

So I could only feel empathy for the fans I saw on television discarding their jerseys and other memorabilia outside the soon to be abandoned  headquarters of the San Diego Chargers.

“I’m heartbroke more than anything,” a fan said when interviewed by a sports reporter on TV.

“I’m just tore up. They’re our team. Fifty-five years in the making. Just tear our hearts out. Not cool.”

No community should have to suffer the indignity of losing its team. But if financial considerations make it inevitable, do it with class.

Don’t rub their noses in it.

And that is exactly what they Chargers have done.

Unfulfilled Dream

It had long been my dream to attend a game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium, where Raider fans have long outdrawn fans rooting for the home side.

That’s one dream that will never be fulfilled.

And so a city that had been without football for two decades within two seasons finds itself home to two football teams.

The Rams returned to Los Angeles at the beginning of the current NFL season following 20 years in St. Louis.

And the Chargers are returning next season to the city they represented for the inaugural season of the AFL before relocating to San Diego more than half a century ago.

Which begs the question: how will the Chargers be received in Los Angeles? It’s not even clear if the Rams can be a success there.

Can Los Angeles Support Two NFL Teams?

Are there enough football fans in Los Angeles to support two football teams?

Common sense would dictate that before you would add a second football team to a market, you would make sure that it could support one football team.

That has yet to be proven. The Rams were not exactly welcomed home with open arms.

Why not give them a chance to rebuilt their fan base before adding a competitive team to the mix?

We might have been rival football fans of rival football teams, but I can take no joy in San Diego’s loss of its team.

“For more than a decade, the San Diego Chargers have worked diligently toward finding a local stadium solution, which all sides agreed was required,”said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“These efforts took on added intensity in the last two years. A year ago, NFL owners granted the Chargers an option to move to Los Angeles. Rather than immediately exercising that option, the team spent the past year continuing to work on finding a stadium solution in San Diego.”

What If the Raiders Move to Las Vegas?

If a Chargers move to La La Town is a done deal, could a Raiders move to Sin City be far behind?

That would complicate matters yet further. There is already a massive Raider fan base in Greater Los Angeles.

I am sure that many SoCal football fans – especially those living in the Inland Empire – would be tempted to attend games in Las Vegas should a Raiders move to the city be approved.

That would lead to yet more cannibalization of a market that has yet to prove its ability to support one football team, let alone three.

That is something I don’t want to contemplate. But if they move from Oakland, don’t count on my support.

All a Football Fan Really Wants

I want to support a football team that plays football. I will support that team loyally through thick and thin, regardless of its win-loss record.

I will support it through loosing seasons. I will wear my team’s colours proudly.

I will be ecstatic when my team wins, and heartbroken when it loses.

But there is one thing I will NOT do. I will not support a football team that plays musical chairs.

I am sick of the way football teams pit cities against one another, making ever greater demands for ever for ever more grandiose facilities, when most of us simply want moderately comfortable seats, yummy food, cheap beer, and a good view of the action on the field.

Loyalty goes both ways. If teams expect loyalty from their fans, they should also be loyal to their fans.

 

 

Raiders Fan Reminisces About Mexico City Trip

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Tens of thousands of fans of the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans  traveled to Mexico City last November to root for their respective football teams.

Among them were Alise Levine, who lives in San Jose, California, and her friend, Rachel Brown.

Alise has been  attending as many of the Silver and Black’s away games as she can for 16 years. She has been an Oakland Raiders seasons ticket holder for four years.

Look over Alise’s shoulder as she reminisces about her epic trip to Mexico City to root for the Raiders. My interview with Alise follows:

How did you become a Raiders fan?

I became a Raiders fan about 16 years ago when a friend invited me to a few away games. I have had Golden State Warriors season tickets for 29 years.

Oh, don’t get me started on the Warriors! That would be another interview!!!

I’m a die-hard Warriors. My #1 love. LOL.

Such loyal fans through so many losing seasons. But, getting back to my original question, is it true you’ve been to every game this season?

Every game except for three: Denver, Kansas City, and San Diego.

So what’s it like attending a game in a “hostile environment”?

Win or lose, I’ve never had an issue at an away game. It’s fun to meet new people.  I don’t talk trash unless it comes to me first.

If they say anything, I have a great reply.

I say, “When you attend two or eight away games a  year and support your team through thick and thin,  then you can say you are a true fan like I am.

They have nothing to say in return. LOL!

It’s so fun to be at the games live.

I know … wish that I could … but I live in Hong Kong …

Ohhhh.   Awesome, though …

I’m a Bay Area fan in general. I moved here at age 10 from New York.

There are some GREAT Raiders fans in NYC!!!

Yes, the NY club is fantastic!.

Do you make your own travel arrangements or do you travel as part of a group?

Most of the time I arrange it myself. A few times a season a huge trip is arranged by a Raider fan group, such as the New Orleans game.

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For Mexico City, we went with PrimeSport – for the events and for SAFETY!

A lot of cities have booster clubs like Tampa,  New York,  and DC. They arrange host hotels and plan parties and tailgate.

Other cities don’t really do that so I book things myself, like in Nashville.

How did you get to Mexico City? 

I went on American Airlines, SFO to LAX, LAX to Mexico City, took about 5 hours of flying and a layover in LA.

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Did you travel independently or in a group? If in a group, what was the mood like on the trip down?

I traveled with my friend Rachel. We were very excited, and everyone on the flights were very excited, too.

There were a lot of Raiders fans on the flight from LA to Mexico City!!!

Where did you stay? What was the hotel like?

I stayed at the Hyatt Regency…  In the Polanco area.  It was a ritzy area for Mexico City near museums, parks, restaurants, and malls.

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It was a fantastic hotel with many amenities…  a GREAT bar area and a few great places to eat, as well.

The TEAM stayed at the same hotel Sunday night when they came in.  It was not planned that way, but it was fantastic

Did you do any sightseeing?

Yes, we did. We  visited the following places: El Bazar Del Sábado, Bazar Del oro, Museo Soumaya, Olympic Stadium Angel de la Independencia, Bellas Artes Palace, and Restaurante Arroyo.

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What was the food like? How did it compare to the Mexican food you’ve had in the United States?

The food was very good at every place I ate.

It was better [than in the United States] I think.

Did people in Mexico City seem to be aware of the game? 

Yes! EVERYONE was aware of the game.  There was a fan fest and also signs everywhere.

What was the fan fest like? How did it compare to the events they had in London?

It was okay , not great.  But I think it was more for the Mexican fans, not the Americans.

Did you experience any animosity because of the recent election?

I did not experience any problems whatsoever of any type in Mexico at all

What about game day? What was it like? Since it was a night game, what did you do before the game?

Game day was exciting.  We got on a bus with our PrimeSport group at 1 pm. We went to an exclusive event for PrimeSport.

Then we had a fiesta before the game for about three hours at an events place / restaurant called Arroyo.

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The food was excellent. There was one room for Raiders fans and one for Texans.  We had entertainment with bands and dancers and a photo booth as well.

It was a real Mexican fiesta, and we got to experience the culture.  We then took the bus to the game. The traffic was HORRENDOUS!

How about the trip to the stadium, the game itself, and after the game was over?

Traffic is very bad in Mexico City, 7 million cars at one time. It took us a while, and we had a POLICE escort getting into the stadium.
Security was tight and the lines were very long. There were police EVERY where and dogs.

After the game, there were police everywhere, as well, but it was easy to get out.

I know that some fans were afraid to go because they were worried about security? Were there any safety issues?

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There were no safety issues. I didn’t feel unsafe at all.

[There were]  6,000 police at the game, including our police from the NFL.

We met a guy who usually is at Levi Stadium (home of the San Francisco 49ers) waiting in line by  me to get into the game. He was a dog police!

It was tough though with the language barrier. The police did NOT speak any English.

Would you recommend Mexico City as a travel destination?

I’m not sure I would. It was beautiful, and the tours and history and the food were good, but because of the safety there, that is a tough question.

If the safety of Americans were not an issue, I would say yes.

Do you have any tips for would-be visitors?

If you go, definitely stay in a top notch hotel and go with a tour group like i did. Ifelt safe at all times.

There has been talk of the NFL expanding overseas. Do you think Mexico City would be a suitable candidate for an expansion team?

No, I don’t think it’s a good choice.  [There are] too many security issues there and too many people and too much traffic at all times.

Anything else you would like to add?

I am very glad  went and had the experience. I don’t think I would go again though.

Thank you so much, Alise! It has been a pleasure chatting with you!

 

Could the Raiders Face the Chiefs in the Playoffs?

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The Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs finished the season with a loss and a win, respectively, which means they have identical 12-4 win-loss records.

Since the Chiefs won the series 2-0, the American Football Conference West championship goes to the boys from the Show Me State.

So where does that leave the Raiders? They’re down, but they’re not out.

The Raiders will face the Houston Texans as a wild card in the first round of the AFC playoffs, while the Chiefs get a first round bye.

But there are two more rounds.

Could the Chiefs and the Raiders face off for a third time in the AFC Playoffs? Could this be a case of three times lucky for the Raiders?

The prospect brings back memories of another era, when the the Western Division of the American Football League was all about two teams: The Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

There has never been any love lost between the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders – Chiefs rivalry is, in fact, one of the fiercest rivalries in pro-sports, dating back more than half a century to the year 1960, when the now defunct American Football League was founded.

There were four teams in the AFL Western Division: the Dallas Texans, the Denver Broncos, the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Oakland  Raiders.

Two of the teams moved cities, and one of the teams changed names.The  Dallas Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Los Angeles Chargers became the San Diego Chargers.

When the AFL merged with the National Football League in 1970, the four rivals remained in the same division, which was renamed the AFC West.

Intercity Rivalry

There wasn’t much of a rivalry between the Raiders and the Chiefs in the early days of the AFL. To be honest, not everyone took the new league seriously.

The Chargers were an early success, winning the Western Division Championship five times in the first six seasons of AFL play.

The rivalry between Oakland and Kansas City only became heated in 1967, when Charles Finley bought the Kansas City Athletics and moved the baseball team to Oakland.

The Kansas City fans didn’t like that very much, and an intercity rivalry erupted.

To make things interesting, it happened at the very same time the Raiders were becoming a force to be reckoned with.

They also had what then was considered to be a state-of-the-art sports facility, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex.

The Raiders hadn’t done much up until then, whereas the Chiefs had already won the AFL Western Division championship twice: once in 1962 and again in 1966.

The Chiefs also played in the first inter-league championship game, the AFL-NFL World Championship, which was renamed the Super Bowl the following year.

First League Championship

With a 13-1 record, the Raiders won the AFL championship in 1967, representing the AFL in the first ever Super Bowl.

The Raiders won further AFL Western Division Championships in 1968 and 1969. They won AFC West Divisional Championships in 1970, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, and 1976. They won a wildcard berth in 1977 and 1980.

The Raiders won the Super Bowl in 1976 and 1980. They moved to Los Angeles in 1982.

In addition to their AFL Western Division Championship in 1966, the Chiefs won an AFC West Divisional Championship in 1971.

Conspicuous in their absence between 1966 and 1972 – during what I think of as the Raiders’ Glory Years – were the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers.

For six straight years, it was the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs playing King of the Mountain in the AFL/AFC West.

And it wasn’t always pretty.

The teams finished the 1968 season with identical 12-2 records. Oakland prevailed the playoffs, beating Kansas City by a convincing score of 41-6.

The following year, Oakland beat Kansas City twice during regular season play, but had to play Kansas City in the AFL Championship Game.

Is the Playoff Concept Fair?

While it is accepted today, the whole playoff concept was new at the time, and not everyone agreed with the idea that after after taking first place in the regular season, a team could still be knocked out by a team below them in the standings.

I clearly remember the resentment.

“How many times do we have to beat the Chiefs to win the championship?” fans were asking.

The Chiefs might have gone into the match as underdogs, but they upset the Raiders by a score of 17-7.

The Chefs went on the Super Bowl, beating the heavily favoured Minnesota Vikings. It was their only Super Bowl Championship.

The Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs have faced each other twice a year for 57 consecutive seasons.

The Chiefs lead the series 62 to 52, with two games that ended in ties.

The Chiefs have beaten the Raiders five straight times, including twice this year.

Just like old times. Just like 1969. Only this time it’s the Raiders who have become the underdogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NHL Celebrates 100th Anniversary in 2017

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National Hockey League

The National Hockey League celebrates its centennial year in 2017.

Festivities are planned throughout 2017, starting with the Rogers NHL Centennial Classic Alumni Game, which will be played on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2016, at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, Ontario.

Continue reading “NHL Celebrates 100th Anniversary in 2017”