The Business Side Of The World Cup
By Trung Chau & Thanh Huong
Once every four years, the FIFA World Cup, the globe’s biggest sporting event, enraptures football fans in Vietnam, including the business sides
One week before the World Cup kicked off, Nam Hyung-Kun, president of SeAH Steel Vina Corp. whose factory is in Dong Nai Province, said that he and some of his Korean friends working in HCM City would visit a bar in the city downtown to watch the first 2010 World Cup match of the Korean national squad against Greece in Group B.
Not along ago, Jaime Rivera, trade counselor of Chile in Vietnam, also said that he, his friends and colleagues together would try to watch all matches of the Chilean team. “We’ll possibly go to a bar or a restaurant,” said Rivera.
Reponses from bars and restaurants
Nam and Rivera are two of a big contingent of expatriates working and living in Vietnam who heartily support their national squads playing at the world’s biggest football event.
Needless to say, these communities offer big business opportunities to bars and restaurants in town, especially those with specific designs and layouts of some regions in the world. They can be easily found in downtown HCM City and Hanoi.
The “backpacker” quarter bordered by Pham Ngu Lao, Bui Vien and De Tham streets in HCM City’s District 1 may be the most exciting place during this World Cup for expatriates. Bars in this quarter, which is home to many Africans, are much crowded as the World Cup is held in South Africa this time.
“When the opening ceremony took place at 18:45, the bar still had some vacancies,” said Quoc Huy, a waiter of Go-Go Bar on De Tham St. “But, one hour before the first match [South Africa-Mexico] began, all the seats were filled.”
This bar and its counterparts in the area have purchased new television sets to serve guests. Some even bought projectors to show matches on large screens.
Meanwhile, Seventeen Saloon on Pham Ngu Lao Street and Lodge Bui Bar & Café on Pham Ngoc Thach Street attracted a lot of fans of the Mexican team thanks to their big screens. Both bars are decorated in Latin American designs.
This year, Patcharan Restaurant on Hai Ba Trung Street, a familiar rendezvous so far of Spanish fans, continues to offer diverse food and drink promotions. Meanwhile, a group of Japanese restaurants on Le Thanh Ton and Thi Sach streets have various promotion programs to attract Japanese in the city.
Restaurants at deluxe hotels which are accommodations of choice for high-class guests hardly miss the chance. For instance, Rex Hotel’s Rooftop Garden has installed a large screen TV and offers two beers for the price of one.
In Hanoi, expatriates enjoy the exciting atmosphere of the World Cup in different styles. As expected, they would often walk around the Sword Lake every night. They can sit, have cups of coffee and watch the old town, take photos, go shopping or buy souvenirs. But during the 2010 World Cup, the lake remains quiet. Foreigners, especially those from countries that have football teams competing at the World Cup get together at some bars or enjoy matches with Hanoians. They prefer airy cafes, especially those on Hang Hanh and Trieu Viet Vuong streets.
Several expatriates from France, Britain and Germany said that they planned to meet at their embassies in Hanoi to support their national squads believed to go to semi-final and final matches.
Some luxurious addresses such as Seventeen Club on Tran Hung Dao Street, Maxx Café on Tran Dai Nghia Street and My Way Café on Trung Hoa-Nhan Chinh Street have installed TVs to serve football fans.
To take advantage of the market of foreign communities, shop owners along Luong Van Can Street. said they were going to sell flags and costume kits of teams that pass the qualifying round.
Answers of electronics centers
In fact, this World Cup, bars, cafés and restaurants have purchased new TVs or installed big TV screens. Fans also need more services so that they can know more information or enjoy World Cup more conveniently. Thus, World Cup is also a big business chance for electronics shopping centers.
Traveling around some electronics shopping centers in Hanoi like Viet Long on Giang Vo Street, Top Care on Lang Ha and Cau Giay streets, Nguyen Kim on Trang Thi Street, it is easy to see many advertising banners for brand-new LCD TVs with discounted prices. Nguyen Van Vinh, manager of Top Care Plaza on Lang Ha Street, said that since last month most of its customers have visited the center to buy LCD TVs.
In HCM City, promotion programs are main focuses of electronics centers. Phan Khang Shopping Center has displayed a big ball on Hoang Van Thu Street. in Tan Binh District to attract customers.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Kim Shopping Center is showing two limousines at its centers. All customers who purchase from Nguyen Kim Shopping Center will receive a ticket to guess the final round’s results. Winners will win two limousines worth VND6 billion.
Tour operators’ ways
While bars, cafes and electronics centers seem to have good business results during every World Cup, tour operators have their own plans. The number of tour bookings to South Africa to watch World Cup matches and visit African scenic spots is smaller than the previous tournaments. The trip to South Africa is longer and thus much more expensive.
Vietravel reported that it received bookings from some 80 guests in June, mostly in the form of “Free & Easy” tours (a tour operator just supplies air tickets and accommodations).
Saigontourist Travel Service Co. has already received registration of 120 guests to South Africa, who accept to pay VND54.3 million in June and 47.6 million in July for an eight-day tour.
Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, PR manager of Fiditour, said that the company serves two groups of total 70 tourists to the African country in the middle of June and early July.
News bulletins still see the chance
Viewed from newsstands, daily football news bulletins this year is still a good business although they are no longer as lucrative as they were before. However, it is true that Vietnamese still keep the habit of buying football news bulletins in the morning or early afternoon to not only have updates but also read features and cut a note on the bulletin to join the score forecasting contest.
Daily sports newspapers such as Bong Da, The Thao Hang Ngay, The Thao 24h and The Thao Saigon Giai Phong add the World Cup breaking news section into their normal content. Meanwhile, Nguoi Lao Dong, Thanh Nien and Tuoi Tre have published separate daily bulletins.
Last Saturday evening, Nam Hyung-Kun and his friends certainly had a joyful night as their national team beat a lackluster Greek team 2-0. On Sunday, the president of SeAH Vietnam possibly went to websites for a minute to watch features about the victory before doing other chores of the day.
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