Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

World Cup soccer hits home-run in U.S. bars

June 18, 2010

SOCCER-WORLD/From our correspondent Nivedita Bhattacharjee:

Surprised at the roar from the bar around the corner on an otherwise normal work day in New York City? Don’t be. It’s the FIFA World Cup, and that pub’s full of people rooting for team USA.

As a record number of U.S. viewers tune in to experience the 90-minute soccer matches, bars and taverns from New York to San Francisco are doing all that they can to keep the cheers loud and the beers flowing. And even while at work, some Americans are letting daily tasks idle while they keep score.

Anthony was watching Friday’s nail-biter match between the United States and Slovenia at the Irish Rogue Bar with a friend who had taken a break from work.

“Everyone’s watching it in the city … It’s cool because it’s only once every four years, and unlike the Olympics, there’s only one single country that wins,” he said. “It’s definitely catching … it’s 11 o’clock in the morning and we’re sitting at a bar for the match.”

While soccer is still a distant cousin to U.S. football, baseball and basketball in terms of total viewership, it’s clear that fans’ affection for the game is building. Especially when their team starts winning.

“When they won the first game we had a lot more people in. I noticed today too, there are more people coming in. Last World Cup, I don’t think there were as many people interested, and I think that’s because of how the (US) team is playing,” Ariel Williams, manager of Dave’s Tavern said, struggling to be heard over banging tables and roaring cheer.

Williams said all three Dave’s Tavern outlets in the city were seeing sales rise. Other Manhattan haunts, like Dalton’s Bar and Grill, the Mercury Bar and the Irish Rogue Bar were all teeming with fans, and busy waitresses. 
(Photo: Reuters)

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