WASHINGTON - The World Cup enters its third week of competition with the United States advancing to the next round. Spirited play by the Americans has already generated a lot of new fans in the U.S. But it’s not just football (soccer) fans now raving about the sport. Some of the biggest fans include bars and restaurants in Washington, D.C.
With 32 countries competing in the month-long tournament, it’s one of the world’s largest sporting events. And when one country scores a goal, or just comes close to scoring one -- the roar is heard around the world.
Now those fans are nearly 7,000 kilometers away in Recife, Brazil. But if you listen closely you might also hear the cheering fans right in the heart of Washington, D.C.
At Public Bar in Dupont Circle, it’s standing room only for the lunchtime crowd gathered for the U.S.-Germany game. Manager John Gliatis said it’s the biggest crowd he’s seen in two months. And with so many customers he’s doing double-duty in the kitchen, making sure everyone gets their orders.
“Tons. Beer, chicken wings -- you gotta come check them out -- they’re awesome so... the American team, doing very well right now so it just keeps business going,” he said.
At one Buffalo Wild Wings location in New York, traffic has more than tripled on game days. Manager Jackie Alberici said the restaurant sold more than 5,000 chicken wings the night the U.S. beat Ghana.
"Overall we are expecting a higher check average per table that comes in," she said. "As far as chicken wings sales go, we are looking at anywhere between a 20 and 30 percent increase."
With most of the key matches falling between 12 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET on the U.S. East Coast, these businesses have lunchtime office crowds to thank. But, don’t tell the boss!
The competition for these working fans, though, is intense. Many restaurants are relying on social networks to tell patrons about their World Cup specials. Some estimates report ad spending during the World Cup will generate more than $1.5 billion -- with the bulk of the spending benefitting North America and Western Europe.
For local pubs and restaurants, it's money well spent.