EuroCup is a big deal. It's like the World Cup but smaller, right? I'm glad to say that I went to an actual game- Portugal vs Denmark. I can tell you that people-watching the day of the game was a lot more interesting than the actual game. And the game, with a final score of 3-2 in favor of Portugal, was a relatively high-scoring affair. Still I prefer American Football where guys hit guys and where if the score is low it means there was a lot of hitting and if the score is high it means there was a lot of action. I watched one of the Eurocup matches on TV the other night and it ended in a 1-1 Draw. I say, if the final game ends in a draw then neither team should get the "Euro Cup", rather they should both get Certificates of Attendance. If they want the Cup bad enough, then strap on some pads and fight for the dang thing!
I went to a game at the newly constructed Lviv Arena.
It's the smallest of the 8 venues used for Eurocup, seating about 35000. They had an entire middle section (50 yd line) blocked off for 150 or so media-types. What a waste of good real-estate!
The new stadium is alright. The rest-room and concession facilities were great. Every seat in the house was a good seat but it didn't seem optimized for revenue...ie, better seats, skyboxes...the things we would do back home. The pre-game announcer several times directed our attention to the "giant" video screen. I'm sorry, I graduated from Mississippi State and the "giant" video screen at Lviv Arena looked like a color Etch-a-Sketch compared to Dogzillatron!
I was impressed with Security and Customer Service Stewards. There were LOTS and LOTS of yellow-shirted volunteers, many who spoke English. There was LOTS and LOTS of uniformed policemen. I know there were a lot of concerns before the games about safety and it appears the Ukraine hosts made every effort to alleviate those concerns.
I read about different ministries serving in Kyiv (lot bigger venue) but I didn't see anyone in Lviv other than a couple of Mormon Missionaries that appeared to be "working the crowd". I was on the lookout all week in Lviv for evidence of trafficking and anti-trafficking work. If it was going on (and I'm sure it was) it wasn't obvious, at least not to me. The times I spent in the Fan Zone (downtown, away from the arena) appeared family-friendly even late at night.
I think the thing is, without a highly distinguishable red-light district, it's hard for someone like me to be aware of something like trafficking or even prostitution. I wasn't in the "right" place (I guess that would really be the wrong place) and I probably wasn't out at the right time either. The only two girls I thought might be prostitutes were talking to uniformed security guys...hmm! A lot of the yellow-shirted "Stewards", the volunteers, seemed ridiculously friendly. Maybe they were trained to be exceptionally helpful which to me is a new concept in Ukrainian customer service; maybe there was more going on than I was aware of. I mean, heck, if I were a young guy looking for someone to spend some time with, a disproportionally large number of volunteers just happened to be very attractive.