Meeting NFL fans at the International Series tailgate parties

The Virgin Atlantic Redtails

The Virgin Atlantic Redtails

The NFL. It’s one of the greatest sporting spectacles on the planet, with some of the world’s most obsessive fans. And to satisfy the growing army of devotees living in Europe, the league established an International Series in 2007 which sees some of the biggest NFL teams play regular season games in London. Every autumn, fans flock to the capital from all over the UK and Europe for the sell-out games at Wembley and Twickenham stadiums. We;ve been proudly supporting the NFL International Series for the past few years, including flying the teams over for the big games.

One of the many uniquely American traditions that surround the NFL is the tailgate party. For as long as anyone can remember, fans have gathered in the stadium car park ahead of NFL games to soak up the atmosphere, get ready for the action and share mountains of food and drink. It’s all about friendly rivalry with a great family atmosphere, and with our nose for a good party we, of course, were there. Our stall was manned by some of our cabin crew and in our red zone, NFL fans could come along, meet our ‘Virgin Redtails’ and have a special animated ‘GIF’ photo taken to share on social media.

Two down, two to go

This year’s International Series spans four games over five weeks, with the final two games coming up at the end of this month.

  • September 24 Baltimore Ravens vs Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley
  • October 1 New Orleans Saints vs Miami Dolphins at Wembley
  • October 22 Arizona Cardinals vs Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham
  • October 29 Minnesota Vikings vs Cleveland Browns at Twickenham
Simon, Ania, Carly and Michael get ready to meet the fans!

Simon, Ania, Carly and Michael get ready to meet the fans!

Our cabin crew reported back on their day at the tailgate party:

“The fans couldn’t wait to try on our Virgin Atlantic Red Tails helmets, and they loved taking direction on how to create the best GIF,” said Simon Cowley. “I was blown away by how family oriented the crowd was. Lots of young families, groups of friends; it was heartening to feel that enthusiasm buzzing from everyone.” Every person that came to see us were instantly drawn to our uniforms, our brand, our people. Many wanted to just chat about their flight and holiday experiences with us”.

“Talking to the fans was a highlight,” said Ania. “Most dressed up and looked fabulous. The super fans couldn’t wait to tell us about all the games they’ve been to and why they were such devotees. It was lovely to see the happy mixing of rival fans, young and old.”

Simon and Ania pose with some of the NFL superfans

Simon and Ania pose with some of the NFL superfans

“The fans loved our stand. I was manning the photo booth and helping customers strike a pose,” said Carly. “It was funny observing the men taking it very seriously when it came to the positioning and getting an ‘authentic’ photo! Most of the customers were excited to put on the helmets and many were surprised at how small/tight they felt. There were lots of European fans on the day, from Italy, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and many from Germany, All supported different teams, but came over just to see a live NFL game (even if it wasn’t their team!)”

If you have a ticket for the final two NFL International Series games, we’d love to see you at our next tailgate party. Admission is on a first come, first served basis, so get there early and get your game face on for that epic animated GIF!

About Dave Gunner

Dave is the co-editor of Ruby, the Virgin Atlantic Blog. He has worked at Virgin Atlantic for over two decades. In that time he has amassed some truly epic memories but never lost his fascination with the airline world. Dave's on a mission to bring you some great insights into our people, planes and planet.
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