In the last decade, large public screens and globally organized public viewing areas (PVAs) have become increasingly significant elements of media events, expanding the possibilities for mass audiences to collectively watch events together in real time. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in connection with the British Royal wedding (2011) and the London Olympics (2012), this article explores the ‘sociality’ of public space broadcasting, focusing on interactions and performances of identity by people gathered for collective viewing in the city centres of London, Birmingham and Manchester. The analysis shows that public space broadcasting mobilizes a variety of social identities and performances, spanning from ‘relaxed’ forms of engagement to more fannish articulations of nationality, cosmopolitan hybridity and spectacle participation. Geographical location and structural embedding strategies clearly impinge on public performances within PVAs. The article concludes that the degree of commercialization and presence of journalists and other media professionals are particularly central external drivers of performativity in connection with public consumption of media events.