World Cup

Icelandair celebrating Iceland’s soccer team with stopover fun

This year, Iceland became the smallest country ever to have its men’s soccer team qualify for the World Cup.

To celebrate, Icelandair, which sponsors the team, is launching a special soccer-themed version of its famed stopover program.

Passengers can apply to participate in Team Iceland Stopover: a selection of 90-minute, soccer-inspired experiences curated by members of Iceland’s men’s and women’s teams and taking place from May 29 through the end of June, 2018.

The experiences range from attending either a National Men’s or Women’s team match and hanging with midfielder Birkir Bjarnason at his favorite geothermal area to attending the June 16 party to celebrate Iceland’s World Cup match.

Anyone can apply to be part of the Team Iceland Stopover experiences, but there are limited spots. You’ll  need to be flying on Icelandair and your itinerary will need to match up with the program events. See the Icelandair website for more details.

World Cup viewing rooms at Orlando Int’l Airport

With a month-long schedule of special events and programs, we knew Miami International Airport had World Cup fever, but it turns out Orlando International Airport is soccer happy as well.


Soccer-themed art show at MIA Airport

The airport has set up a special viewing room in the main terminal building, across from the bank and next to the postal services and the spot has been quite popular with both passengers and with employees on their breaks.

One World photo

World Cup viewing room at Orlando International Airport

Not in Brazil? Where to watch the World Cup


Not going to Brazil? You can still catch the World Cup.

Soccer fans unable to see the 2014 FIFA World Cup festivities in person June 12 through July 13 can still get in on the action. Special soccer-themed events and promotions can be found across the country, from Miami to New York to Seattle.

No matter what city you’re in, there’s likely a bar nearby with a TV screen that will be tuned to the latest game. Find fellow fans by consulting the directory of official U.S. Soccer bars or this list put together by ESPN and Pinterest pinners.

With a city already full of passionate soccer fans, Miami is celebrating its status as the “Gateway to Brazil” with exhibition matches and events ranging from admission discounts at the Miami Seaquarium for those wearing the colors of teams advancing toward the finals to poolside viewing parties with giveaways and entertainment at hotels such as the Fontainebleu Miami Beach and the Clevelander South Beach Hotel.

Miami International Airport has a full month of events scheduled throughout the terminals as well.

“We’re World Cup ready,” said William Talbert, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We have billboards welcoming World Cup fans and a special website of event listings that’s already 22 pages long.”

The Paley Center for Media is offering free World Cup screenings and events at both its New York City and Beverly Hills locations, beginning with the opening match (Brazil versus Croatia) on June 12 and ending with the 2014 FIFA World Cup Title Match on July 13.

Chicago will host three free viewing parties for the U.S. Men’s National Team matches in local parks. The USA’s opener against Ghana on June 16 and the U.S.-Portugal match June 22 can be seen at Arvey Field in Grant Park, while the Petrillo Music Shell at Butler Field will show the June 26 U.S.-Germany match. Each event will feature ESPN’s live feed of the matches displayed on a large high-definition screen and a U.S. Soccer Fan Fest area.

Cincinnati’s Fountain Square will also host free outdoor viewing parties for the three US Men’s National Team’s first round matches in the World Cup this summer. On June 16, 22 and 26, the games will be broadcast on the Square’s large outdoor screen, which usually shows Cincinnati Reds baseball games. The parties will also feature live DJs, food, beer from local breweries and activities for all ages.

Plenty of bars and restaurants around the country will be serving up special soccer-themed meals and drinks, such as the caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail. In Santa Monica, Shutters on the Beach has put together a “World Cup of Wine” menu with wines from every participating World Cup country. Once a team is knocked out, their wine will be removed from the list. Securing wine from some of the countries has been a challenge, but “I am certain we will be purchasing more Italian and German wines and very likely the Brazilian Chardonnay Lidio Carraro Dadivas,” said hotel general manager Gregory Day.

In Portland, Oregon, home of popular Timbers soccer club, there will be a family-friendly, pop-up World Cup Beer Garden open from 8:30 a.m. till 9 p.m. showing every single World Cup game live, as well as replays and highlights. Soccer fans can enjoy local craft beers, cocktails, coffee, food and free Wi-Fi.

The Seattle Sounders FC is partnering with Nord Alley for free live-viewing parties in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. On July 13, the club will host its own World Cup Final viewing party, with a full day of soccer-related activities capped off by an evening match against the Portland Timbers.

(My round-up of Where to Watch the World Cup first appeared on NBC News Travel).

Miami International Airport ready for the World Cup

mia soccer

The 2012 World Cup kicks off today in Brazil and Miami International Airport – which expects to see 200,000 passengers pass through on their way to and from the games – is kicking off its own month-long soccer-themed celebration.

Look – and listen – for: Brazilian music and dance performances; interactive mini-soccer fields featuring professional soccer players; Nintendo Wii™ Soccer game stations; a soccer-themed art exhibit, World Cup and national team clothing and accessories at MIA shops; a children’s cart with activities and soccer-themed face-painting and, of course, plenty of TVs tuned to the games, including a 90-inch flat screen TV in the upgraded MIA Hotel lobby pre-security at Central Terminal E, 2nd Level.


Fresh liveries flying to the World Cup

Airlines are getting pretty darn excited – and creative – about the World Cup and their role in flying fans and teams to the games.

Lufthansa has a ““Fanhansa” livery on more than a half dozen short and long-haul aircraft.


And Brussels Airlines just sent their Red Devils soccer team to Brazil on a plane that looks like this on the outside.

Brussels plane

And which had turf replacing the carpet on the inside.


Back with more World Cup liveries tomorrow. If you’ve spotted one, please share your photos.