Washington DC Dupont Circle World Cup party

Quick interlude as we await Jae to deconstruct the Russia v Korea match and move onto the immensely important Korea v Algeria match on June 22 [June 23 in Korea]. I talked to Aaron DeNu, the organizer for a World Cup viewing party in Dupont Circle. He put one on in DC in 2010 and he’s doing it again, this time pairing up with the German Embassy. We got the lowdown for this June 26th event – starts off with USA v Germany and concludes with Korea v Belgium…

I interviewed Aaron about the World Cup watching event in DC. Here’s our digital conversation:

Tavern: On June 26, you have a stellar World Cup public viewing party set up in Dupont Circle in DC.  You set up something similar in 2010. What gave you the idea for event?

DeNu: World Cup viewing parties have been around in some fashion since the first televised World Cup broadcast in 1954. There’s just something special about watching the beautiful game in a communal setting.

So the World Cup viewing party is on quite a dramatic day of action in the World Cup, it’s the last day of group matches, whether certain teams will break into the advanced Round of 16 will probably hinge on these games. Are you airing all the games that day live? I’m talking about both Group G matches (USA vs Germany AND Portugal vs Ghana) simultaneously at noon while Group H matches (South Korea vs Belgium and Algeria vs Russia) both at 4pm.

DeNu: Our keynote match for Thursday, June 26th is USA vs Germany. We’re grateful to have the full financial support of the German Embassy which made this project possible. As an added bonus, we’re also screening the South Korea vs Belgium match at 4PM.

If the USA does somehow advance past the Group of Death as Group G is known, it’s probably impossible to set up with short notice, but are you planning on setting some public event for a USA round of 16 match?  ( If not, maybe the US Park service should take the ball and run with it!)

DeNu: I’ve been granted a FIFA license to screen the entire 2014 World Cup within Dupont Circle Park. If someone out there has the financial capacity to support additional games, particularly the finals, please contact me at DupontFestival@gmail.com. The total expenses (audio/video/permits/security) for a 1 day event is just over $30,000. The Embassy of Switzerland approached me regarding potentially partnering, but for now, my main goal is to host our festival on June 26th. Hosting an official FIFA sanctioned event takes a ton of work but it’s well worth it.

It’s such a brilliant thing, people of different nations celebrating their culture in myraid colorful ways.  In light of that, what are the logistical things people need to know when coming to DuPont Circle for the World Cup viewing on June 26?  Will it be BYOF (food) and BYOD?

DeNu: Start your morning off right by having breakfast at any of the incredible restaurants that surround the park. Everyone should wear their favorite soccer jerseys. It would be great to have folks dressed up in patriotic American costumes: George Washington, James Brown, Captain America. Dupont Festival programs within the park year-round and we take great pride in preserving and protecting our National Park. We ask that our fans take after the Japanese soccer fans who were just recently recognized for literally walking up and down the stadium aisles with trash bags after their match against the Ivory Coast. Most importantly: have fun!



That concludes our interview with Aaron DeNu, organizer for the Dupont Festival World Cup viewing party. While the digital Tavern is EVerYwHere in the world, the physical Tavern is somewhere northeast of DC. That means the old Tavern owner will load up a beaten down food truck, make the trek down to DC and open the bar in Dupont Circle (actually I’ll probably just take the metro). So if you’re anywhere near the Washington D.C. area, join me for Korea’s last group match -and if you get there earlier, I’ll be there for the first game…as a casual observer.

  • Based on our conversation, some things to note, anyone can work with Aaron to hold a World Cup event at Dupont Circle, he’s got the FIFA permit for the city, but you did note the price tag right?  $30,000+ (a small sum of change, right?). I don’t know if the Korean embassy would, but should Korea advance to the round of 16, I might place a call to them in the next couple of days…
  • Kudos to the Japanese support at the Cote d’Ivoire/Japan game for cleaning up post match. Of course someone might have bothered to tell them that’s what the stadium workers are there for, but still, got to give them some credit…
  •  The party couldn’t be done without the German Embassy’s financial support – big up Germans!  Not only do they have one of the best top flight systems in Europe whose professional clubs boast the largest number of Koreans in their ranks, they are, along with Aaron and his hard work are throwing a hella party in DC.
  • Last word on DC and their (code switch back) football loving ways, the Washington Post reported that the nation’s capitol has initially won the ratings race – beating out other top city markets in total viewership tuning into the World Cup. Frankly I’m surprised we beat out NYC and LA, but the tournament isn’t over yet…


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The old Tavern Owner


  1. What is everyone’s assessment of where LCY is right now post recovery?

    Id say he’s about 85% of what he was. Not as fast and slightly less dynamic. He’s only 25 yo.

    • Depends on how you view it. He’s not completely back to where he used to be, BUT it may be that (and he seemed to indicate it is) the injury has permanently lowered his level. His 100% post-injury is equivalent to him being 85-90% pre-injury or something like that.

      • Not having a playmaker is really hurting us. Someone to really complement Lee and Son. We aren’t that far away from being very good, I think.

        Ive realized how much I miss Lee Yong Pyo and PJS. They were really integral to our offense. LYP was a real diamond in the rough and I may have not appreciated as much as I should back then.

        My biggest gripe with PCY is his lack of aggression. He just seems so passive out there.

        • Sorry, late reply, but yes not having a true 10 does hurt us at times. It wouldn’t be as big an issue is Ki was more forward, either in his movement (ala Xavi) or passing (ala Pirlo).

          I think Park CY’s lack of aggression is possibly the only major telling sign from his lack of playing time at the club level.

    • Wow, great find man! It was discussed in another post, why this kinda growth is less likely in SK, & I can kinda c y. Pop. diff of 50 vs 128 mill, economic realities in K League precluding competitive salaries for top non-Euro league players (so J League & increasingly China Super League throw all the $$ around).

      & the vibe I always got, & what relatives in SK always tell me, is that Korean fans r very fair weather types. If sumthin’s popular, they’ll flock to it, otherwise it’s relegated to a niche existence. Same goes for footy, if it ain’t WC, then there isn’t all that much attn given by the pop. @ large. Hence, less revenue 4 K League, less competitive salaries, decent players go elsewhere, etc.

      This vid, tho, suggests soccer in Japan has become a staple over there, less susceptible to whims/vagaries of popularity. Oh, if ever that day could arrive in SK, would b a beautiful thing… & scary too, in a good way 🙂

      • Your 2nd paragraph rings very true in some regard but maybe others would find too generalized. It is also true Japanese tend to emulate something and go full bore mimicking it.

        The Japanese are managing to create a subculture thats reaching cult status. It comes down to money and being able to create an atmosphere too where people want to become a part of it. Their facilities rock compare to our facilities….they get to watch games right on the pitch on Desso Grassmaster lawn systems. KLeagues still use high school-esque facilities. 1st world problems vs mature emerging market problems. And of course corrupt politics.

        Hopefully these issues get recognized and remedied because its starting to look dire honestly.

        • Oh yeah, I deffo know bout the E. Asian proclivity to go all lemming (Darn that “don’t rock the boat”, conformist Confucianism! ;P), & that its not just sumthin afflicting SK.

          It’s just heartening that it looks like Japan’s gotten over that “conformist hump”, so 2 speak, when it comes to soccer, & its gained a real foothold over there, & just mebbe SK’s time’ll come.

    • Thanks for sharing this – it is further evidence of where Japan is headed – what they are doing right to grow football in popularity – and how much Korea has to do with the infrastructure to improve domestically. Their football culture esp with the youth is heading in the right direction. Korea has some good things in place, some exciting prospects, etc but the flipside: look at the virtually empty stands for Kleague and asian champ. league games and it’s clear Korea is falling behind on a number of metrics. I want to explore this further after the world cup is over.

      • One of the secrets I think the Japanese have managed here is to make the sport sexy. They’ve done this with money and making facilities places people want to go and hang. The cult following is bound to follow.

        Our infrastructure and player emulation by a long stretch is very not sexy.

        Sexiness is but one aspect, Im sure there many others but making a sport appealing visually is HUGE.

        • Right – and stadiums that are built smaller but smarter – that part is huge. the few J league games I’ve seen on tv look smaller but closer to the pitch, closer to the action and most importantly packed w/ supporter creating good atmosphere.

          I sound like a broken record on the Tavern but the MLS did the right thing 10 years ago when they started building smaller but sleek ‘soccer’ specific stadiums. It grew the support base to a decent consistency (Seattle and Portland being the extreme anomaly – amazing scene there). Korea has to ditch the huge cavernous ’02 world cup stadiums – build the support base from the ground up – and hell yeah – make it damn sexy visually.

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