Cricket helps bars and sports bars score this IPL season
Cricket has always played an important role in Indian life. It could be doing just that for Goan restauranteurs who have had a tough season. The telecast of the IPL every evening brings life to a standstill and many fans to night spots in the state to watch these games.
When Malinga bowled the last ball in the innings against RCB, he ensured his team the Mumbai Indians would win by six runs. What he did not know immediately was that he had bowled a no ball. Which was made worse by the umpire missing it completely thus ensuring Virat Kohli had suffered his second loss in as many matches. The match was littered with exciting incidents like Yuvraj Singh hitting Chahal for three consecutive sixes lighting up the proceedings. That was just on Wednesday, in an earlier match Rishab Pant hammered team Mumbai for seventy odd runs off a mere 25 odd deliveries. More importantly the spectators loved it all. And yes, more importantly the large number of viewers on television sets across the country loved it too. In Goa, football country according to conventional wisdom, there has been interest too. The average Goemkar has warmed up to cricket too. And he does not mind spending an evening in a sport bar watching an intense game of cricket. Of course, his love for football remains intact. Over a weekend it will not be just cricket that he will be following but his attention will also be on the progress of his favourite team in the English Premier league as well as the Spanish league. The landscape of Goa is dotted with bars and now increasingly with sports bars. Where young men and women can come and relax and watch a game anywhere in the world after a hard day at the office. Lionel, the owner of the Roof Top Lounge at Colva has witnessed an increase in the number of domestic tourists dropping in to watch the cricket matches since the tournament commenced. He said “There has certainly been an increase in the number of domestic tourists watching the cricket as compared to last year. I would say the increase would be around 15% over last year. I am not complaining. We have three screens in the outlet and they are always on and there are people watching cricket of football on them”. When asked about the code of conduct, he said the rules were being followed and alcohol was not served after 10.30 but people were allowed to watch the match till a result was generated. The general season, he said was good for him and he was not complaining. But not all are scoring this season. At Mcleod’s Sports Bar And Grill at Cavelossim, business had taken a dive in the last seven odd days much to the surprise of the owner, Stephen D Souza. He said “No one is coming for the cricket, it is unbelievable. Last week was really bad, people usually come for the football and during the recent football tournament in which FC Goa reached the finals, I had very good crowds. I have however now changed the menu and I hope for the best. Maybe perhaps, it is the code of conduct which means bars have to shut down early and it’s also Lent, it has meant a hit to the business”. At 3 CrownzSportsbar n karaoke, Goa’s largest sports bar which boasts of 12 screens and seven television sets, business is booming. Jerry Coutinho the owner of the sports bar at Candolim said he also had the ability to stream matches so the paying customer would not be disappointed. Jerry said “We have crowds that include Indian as well as international tourists watching the cricket. The Brits love their cricket and they come in numbers every evening to watch the game. Our Indian tourists can’t live without their fix of cricket and they are present too. Due to the code of conduct, we close the bar at 11 o clock and we let the patrons watch the game till it ends. We have customers who have no qualms in telling us that they would post online of their experience if they were not allowed to watch the game. We have to also be sensitive but firm with our foreign patrons who have to be informed of the restrictions in place due to the forthcoming elections”. Sports bars based in the city are doing well too. The Hub based in Teleigao has a crowd every night that watches the game till it ends. Rajesh the Manager of the outlet said they had five tables for the games and they were always occupied till the end of the match. He expected the numbers to increase as the tournament progressed. He said the code of conduct meant, liquor was stopped at 11o clock and the bar was effectively shut. Rajesh said the customers were always local with the odd domestic tourist coming in. As a long time, restauranteur who did not want to come on record for the story said “Business will be good, because cricket means a good time and also an opportunity to gamble. As the tournament progresses, local interest will increase, its not been a good season but this will be of some help.” Time will tell.
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