Published on June 5th, 2014 | by Alastair Gilmour


World Cup: The Rio deal

The planet’s greatest football nations come together this month during the Fifa World Cup. We examine how our pubs and related businesses can take advantage

When the first issue of Cheers North East rolled off the printing presses, the 2010 World Cup was under way in South Africa. Now, four years on, we’re bouncing along and limbering up for Brazil.

The good news is that with one or two exceptions, the vast majority of the matches will be played with sensible pub-time kick-offs (5pm and 8pm), although England v Italy at 11pm on June 14 may cause a few headaches – particularly the next morning.
Brazil play Croatia in the opening match on June 12 – the first of 64 games all on free-to-air television. Pubs should be able to take full advantage with many pulling out all the stops to entice customers, which won’t be difficult for England’s matches against Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica, but Iran v Nigeria and Ivory Coast v Japan may be more challenging for British fans but who’s to say they can’t be crackers of
football matches?

The prospect of this being the greatest sporting event of the year isn’t lost on Norman Scott, landlord at The Robin Hood in Jarrow (pictured above), who has simply gone to town in his World Cup preparations.

“We got a bit carried away,” he says, “particularly when cars on the road outside have been almost doing U-turns.

“We’ve created a Sports Arena at the back of the pub with 50” plasma screens and the flags of all 32 competing nations on the roof and at the side. The idea is that, when a team gets knocked out their flag will be lowered – until there’s only one left, hopefully England.

England goalkeeping legend Gordon Banks officially opened the “arena” prior to hosting a sportsman’s dinner at the pub.

Norman says: “We’re also having ‘matches’ with beer and food, such as Jarrow Rivet Catcher versus Birra Moretti and pizza up against sausage and mash when England and Italy play.”

Market research company Mintel has found that 75% of the UK adult population will watch this year’s tournament on television. The most concentrated group was men between 18-34 – fairly obvious really – while a third of those who watch World Cup matches are people who don’t normally take a great interest in football.

Other figures show that the 2010 World Cup in South Africa contributed more than £1bn to the UK economy with beer sales up 13.2% during the tournament, so it could be a hands-rubbing time for publicans.

CoverGirlOur cover girl

Tainá Vieira, 22, from Belo Horizonte in Brazil is studying chemical engineering at Newcastle University. A big football fan, she returns to her native country in September to complete the final two years of her course.

Tainá is one of some 30 Brazilian students studying the same qualification – there’s a high demand for graduates in big companies back home.

Surprisingly, she feels her home country won’t be celebrating come the final on July 13. “I don’t think Brazil will win the World Cup,” she says. “I think it’ll be between Italy and Spain.”

In our photographs Tainá is wearing a classic 1960 retro Brazil football shirt from Gateshead-based Toffs (The Old Fashioned Football Shirt company). Staff there are working flat out to complete World Cup orders, hence the unit’s sewing tables are simply awash with coloured fabric.

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Alastair Gilmour

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