India might be missing in action at the football World Cup, but the FIFA craze is high among fans here. With an electrifying 90 minutes guaranteed as Argentina and France kick off against each other on Sunday evening, restaurants, watering holes and cinemas are attracting football fiends with special screenings, big screens and tempting deals.
Outlets are expecting higher than usual footfalls on Sunday, and are amping their offerings suitably. “We are the official partners with Budweiser in Bengaluru and we are expecting around 2,500 guests to watch the match. We have transformed our Hennur outlet to a high-energy stadium filled with lights and festive atmosphere,” said Ajay Gowda, director, Byg Brewski Brewing Company. The match will be screened on a 40-feet LED screen with a stadium-like experience, complete with fireworks and live acts by resident DJs.
The Beer Cafe in all its outlets has a special match-day promo ‘Pitch-er Perfect’, where one can order a beer pitcher in the first half and can get a beer pitcher on the house in the second half. Rahul Singh, founder & CEO, The Beer Cafe, told FE, “This final clash is among the best, the timing of 8:30 pm IST
“We have advance booking of groups already and have kept covers for non-reserved walk-ins as well,” Singh said.
Teja Chekuri, founder and managing partner, Ironhill India, a microbrewery based in Bengaluru, said, “We are expecting a 20% increase in footfalls across all outlets.”
Dhaba Estd. 1986, Delhi, has organised screenings across its outlets with offers where one gets to pair a choice of any one starter and five pints of beer. “Sports has always been a big affair abroad; it’s only now that India is seeing an increase in the fanfare around sports other than cricket,” said brand head Rahul Tiwari.
Social has an all-new ‘Football Frenzy’ menu and offers beer buckets available at selected outlets. “Coincidentally, two of the bestsellers on the menu are inspired by the world-class teams competing in the finals, that is the Croque de Francais and Argentina’s Hand of God chimichurri,” said Alexander Valladares, chief marketing officer.
PVR Cinemas has entered into an exclusive partnership with Visa, the official payments technology partner of FIFA, for ‘FIFA World Cup 2022 viewing parties’ across 10 properties in seven cities. These venues will screen two key matches live. An installation/gaming area has been set up outside the cinema lobby space for enthusiasts with official merchandise on display and selfie stands. Gautam Dutta, CEO, PVR, said, “There are certain things that bring people together in our country, and sports is one of them. PVR has always believed in diversifying its content strategy and this initiative, and we will provide a stadium-like atmosphere for viewers.”
Anand Vishal, chief operations, sales & revenue officer, INOX Leisure
At McDonald’s, one can win an original FIFA match ball after purchasing a McDonald’s meal with a Coca-Cola beverage from the McDelivery app. The top 80 spenders till December 20 can take the ball home. Experiential zones are set up in select stores in Bengaluru and Mumbai.
The amphitheatre at DLF
Fashion footwear and accessories brand Charles & Keith has launched football-inspired accessories ‘Game On Collection’ to get game-day ready. The limited-time special edition capsule collection includes classic low-top sneakers, casual slide sandals, bowling bags with a sporty colour-block design, hexagonal pattern that bears a striking resemblance to the football’s distinctive texture.
In football-crazy Kolkata, eateries are geared up for big crowds. “The timing for the final match is very suitable for good business. We expect good footfalls and almost all renowned bars and restaurants in Kolkata have set up giant screens for football fans to enjoy the match with their family and friends,” said Sudesh Poddar, president, Hotels and Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI).
(With inputs from Mithun Dasgupta)