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Bars, pubs look to score big as FIFA World Cup final frenzy peaks, Retail News, ET Retail

Bars, pubs look to score big as FIFA World Cup final frenzy peaks

No matter whether it’s Argentina or France that lifts the FIFA World Cup on Sunday night, India’s bars, pubs and entertainment complexes holding live screenings of the final are assured of a full house with many sold out.

“We are fully sold out, not only at our own amphitheatre but also at the resto-bars in Cyber Hub in Gurgaon,” said Pushpa Bector, executive director at DLF Retail, which includes the popular food, entertainment and retail complex Cyber Hub.

Bars and pubs across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Kerala have sold packages of up to ₹10,000 or even more depending on the demand, industry officials said.

“Apart from the fact that this final clash is among the best, the timing could not have been better since it’s peak time for pubs,” said Rahul Singh, founder and chief executive of The Beer Cafe. The final kicks off at 8.30 pm on Sunday.

The pub chain with outlets across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru has kept covers for non-reserved walk-ins apart from advance booking of groups, Singh said.

Impresario Handmade Restaurants-owned restaurant chain Social is screening the match at nearly two dozen outlets, including at smaller cities like Indore and Chandigarh.

“Two bestsellers on the menu are inspired by the teams competing in the finals,” said Alexander Valladares, chief marketing officer at Social. “We are also running spot offers on drinks and chilled buckets.”

Bars, pubs look to score big as FIFA World Cup final frenzy peaks
Massive Fan Following
The fact that Messi, 35, will be playing almost certainly his last world cup match, and his clash with Kylian Mbappe, who is the new superstar of the game and the world’s highest-paid footballer, have contributed to the frenzy, executives said.

“We’re pretty much sold out for the finals, as football fervour has peaked here,” said Rachel Goenka, promoter of premium resto-bar The Sassy Spoon, which has outlets in Mumbai and Pune. “A lot of it also has to do with Argentina being in the finals, and the massive fan following Lionel Messi has in the country.”

Brands too have joined the party. AB InBev’s Budweiser has tied up for live screenings across six cities. Many restaurateurs said they are pleasantly surprised at the interest in the FIFA live screenings.

“We may not have shown our merit in football yet, but if there was a World Cup for ‘fanball’ we would be in the running,” industrialist Anand Mahindra tweeted, with pictures of people in Kerala celebrating Argentina making it to the finals.

Such is the fan following of Messi in the country that even a picture of an SBI Bank passbook in blue and white colours – similar to the Argentinian flag – has gone viral on social media, with tweets trending that “SBI is also supporting Argentina”.

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