By ZACH HARMUTH
Who won the debate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?
Last night at one place, at least, it didn’t matter if you were left wing or right wing; the wings that really mattered came with buffalo sauce and bleu cheese dressing.
Kings Bowl bar, restaurant and bowling alley at the CoolSprings Galleria, hosted a debate bingo and wing night as it pumped the debate out on its speakers and big screens.
“We just wanted to catch the crowd that generally follows the debate and give them a place to come see it,” said Charles Williams, Kings Bowl manager. “I mean, the way they are broadcasting it is more like a heavyweight fight, anyway.”
Nielsen Holdings Inc., a company that logs what consumers watch and buy, estimated more than 100 million people tuned into the debate, making it one of the most-watched events in history.
Last January, by comparison, 111.9 million people watched Super Bowl 50; the most-watched event of all-time was Super Bowl 49, which saw the Patriots beat Seahawks, with 114.9 million viewers. The three 2012 Obama-Romney debates, in contrast, drew an estimated 59.2, 65.6 and 67.2 million viewers.
Kings Bowl’s tagline “Pant Suits and Hair Pieces and Wings . . . oh, my!” night featured debate bingo.
“It was a lot of things from previous speeches and notable things they may have said, so they are things that anybody who has been following will know,” said Williams.
So, instead of B-5, for instance, debate topics or campaign trail themes – like gas prices, e-mail scandals or Twitter – filled in the squares, which were blank until a candidate said that word. So while at first it might sound like the exact opposite of an atmosphere to actually absorb the debate, the bingo encouraged engagement.
The mood at King’s Bowl was festive, but people at the party did not take the debates lightly.
“The debates are important, but at the same time, Hillary and especially Trump are larger than life in the public consciousness at this point,” said Chase Adeyolate between swigs of his IPA and imprecations against the candidate for whom he holds the least esteem. “So, really, it is almost as much spectacle as it is a serious political event, assuming those terms are not synonymous to begin with.
“And besides, what seems unique about this election cycle is that both sides seem very entrenched – no one is changing anybody’s mind at this point, so why not have a little fun with it?”
While the purpose of the debates are to put candidates’ views on issues head to head, King’s Bowl also put potential wing flavors against each other.
They polled the guests not on the candidates but on which wing flavor they liked the best in an effort to add a new flavor out of several they are trying out.
No winner was declared last night at King’s Bowl, be it in the competition for the next president or chicken wing flavor.