World Cup matches shown on DMU’s Vijay Patel screen

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A different kind of seat to watch from…

By Chloe Hewitt

World Cup fever has hit De Montfort University, with matches from the football competition being shown on the giant screen outside the Vijay Patel building.

The 34-square-metre display was fitted onto the side of the building after redevelopment works in the last year.

Currently it is used to showcase footage from #DMUGlobal trips, the latest TV adverts for the university, as well as live-streams of graduation ceremonies.

Showing the World Cup matches on the screen was the brainchild of university Vice-Chancellor Dominic Shellard.

Whilst in a meeting, casually discussing where everyone would be watching the World Cup it was realised that the university has a massive screen so why not show matches on there.

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The view of the Vijay Patel screen

Sian Brewis, Senior Media Officer at De Montfort University, said: “We had to ask the city council for permission to screen the games and to have sound as, where it is, is technically a public highway.

“They were happy for us to show matches, but we are not allowed to show the adverts so when it is on ITV there is a man whose job it is to cut the screen when they are about to start.”

One game from each of the groups will be shown per day, with all England matches available to watch in addition to this.

The plan is to also show all of the knock-out games with the schedule to be confirmed following the completion of the group stage.

On Monday evening, the first England game of the group stage was shown on the screen and the turnout was far greater than originally anticipated.

“We had about 250 people who were watching the game on the screen,” said Ms Brewis.

“It was a shock. We had families come to watch, we had people bring their kids and we had 50 chairs for people to sit on. Some sat on the concrete benches we have there while others just stood around.

“With the time it was, with people coming home from work and the pubs open, we really did not think they would choose to watch on the screen.”

The main concern ahead of the match starting was whether it was going to get too rowdy, but Ms Brewis said everyone had a great time and there were no causes for concern.

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View of the crowds watching from the Vijay Patel balcony

An already memorable evening took a turn for the humorous when a group showed up carrying an inflatable boat.

“It was my favourite part. All you saw was these people carrying a massive inflatable boat down to the front of the screen which they put cushions in to sit on, before cracking open some cans to watch the match,” said Ms Brewis.

“I had to go ask them what the boat was about. They said they had been rowing on the river when they realised the match was about to start, so remembering DMU was showing it, they turned back around, got to the bit of the river near Riverside Cafe, got out and carried the boat to the screen. Once it had finished, they picked the boat back up and carried on rowing down the river. Brilliant.”

In addition to this, Professor Shellard is inviting DMU people to attend a barbecue at his house to watch the games with the aim being for the international students to come and watch together.

And that is not all for the big screen.

“Now we have realised how much people like the screen, we are soon going to be asking staff and students what programmes they would like to watch on the screen,” said Ms Brewis. “This time next year we could all be watching Love Island together.”

She did add, however,  that only terrestrial channels will be screened.

The next match to be shown on the screen will be Denmark v Australia at 1pm tomorrow (Thursday, June 21).

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