When Wales and Italy kicked off the latest Six Nations tournament in Cardiff at the weekend, nearly 75,000 Welshmen and women were cheering them on at the Principality Stadium. UCFB marketing academic Andrew Paterson, a former Welsh international himself, tells us about one of his favourite Six Nations moments in recent years…

One of my fondest memories of going to a rugby match was on the 21st February 2014 – Wales vs France in the Six Nations.  It was one of the first Friday night games in the competition and the opening game for Wales. I was lucky enough to be in a hospitality box for the game, but the marketing had started when I received my ticket. There were clear instructions printed on it: ‘All bars will close 30 minutes before kick-off.’ No other information was to hand as to why. On the Welsh RFU Twitter feed there were snippets of fireworks and a countdown to kick off, including a video introducing the team two days before the event. The WRFU used the hashtag #Explosive, and it soon became apparent why.

Upon arrival to the Millennium Stadium (as it was then called), #Explosive was promoted on the stadium and was on the concourse as I made my way to the box. Around 45 minutes before kick-off, we were reminded that all bars would soon close and recommended we leave our box and step out into the bowl in 15 minutes time. Over the tannoy the words "it will be explosive" were repeated. Then, 30 minutes before the game, everything shut and our box host moved us outside. The roof closed and every single light went out – from the boxes to the advertising boards – it was pitch black. 

What followed was the most spectacular fireworks and light shows I think I have ever seen.  The message afterwards was "Be Proud of Wales", and I’ve always remembered this marketing and the hype beforehand. I have always been proud to be Welsh, from the time I pulled on the Welsh shirt and represented them, but their marketing for the Six Nations has continued to grow and get better with the years that go by. Cymru Am Byth!