Big screen sports, big time business!
With sport fever gripping all of Goa, throughout the year, be it the English Premier League and Spanish League or the Champions League, or even cricket and the IPL or even tennis and Wimbledon or the French Open. Telecasting live sports is taking Goa by storm and what better way to watch the match than on a big screen with finger licking food, an array of spirits and a host of your close buddies? This is what most of the restaurants, pubs, clubs and even the road side dhaabas are doing.
To most of us watching the match is what is more important than the food and other assortments. To these entrepreneurs, however, it’s the business. Some places screen games solely out of passion for sport. One of them is Lyndon Furtado of Down the Road (Panjim) who says “I have been a sports person and an avid sports enthusiast but never had a fixed place to go to watch a match. Down the Road was started to cater to all sporting enthusiasts like me. A wide variety of sports are shown ranging from football, cricket, tennis and even Formula One. I have subscribed to multiple dish TV and cable TV networks so that there is always a channel that shows the games.” Another is Anil Pereira of the Upper House (Panjim) who says “We have a café, a bar and a fine dining outlet. We decided to make the café a little sporty as we as a family, are very inclined to sports. We tend to screen sporting events only as they approach their climax, however, as that is when majority of the people come to watch them. But we do screen major football tournaments and tennis championships regularly. Deepak Luthria of Sun City Resort (Baga) says “We have a retro bar that screens matches for both our in-house as well as other guests. Though we haven’t done any formal advertising till now, we have got a good response to the screening from our regular customers. They go crazy, screaming, cheering and at times even cursing. The idea to screen matches came about as I am a huge sports enthusiast myself, and despite my mother’s repeated requests to screen her favourite soap operas, I stick to only sports as that is what brings in the crowds.”
Peter Fernandes of O Coquieiro (Porvorim) says “We are not screening the Euro 2012 matches but we did screen the IPL earlier this year. This however was sponsored by the UB Group. They came up with the idea and approached us, we agreed. During the event there were prizes and also special offers. One example is if you bought a drink manufactured by the UB group you would get one drink manufactured by the UB group free. Response of the people was fairly good.”
Each sporting event draws in a different crowd. If it’s football or cricket you have the loud, continuous chanting audience. If its tennis you have a vigorous crowd who maintain that sense of calmness while the point is being played for, but then celebrate to their heart’s content once the point is won. There is also a large percentage of the crowd who come to watch Formula One races. Most places screen all kinds of sports as that is what brings in the crowd.
Salazar Vas Pereira of Fiplees (Benaulim) says “The idea to screen matches came about when we noticed the level of interest our customers showed in football and cricket. Also a lot of our customers requested us to screen matches. We do get a lot of customers coming in to enjoy the match, and at times they are so engrossed in the match that they forget to order a meal or a drink!”
Prashant Korgaonkar of St. Anthon’s (Baga) states “We have live entertainment or karaoke almost every night and considering our large seating area, we started screening games. We are open till late night so we almost always have a crowd. But business is generally much better when there is a match. However these matches go on without speakers as the sound is reserved for the entertainment, yet people still throng to the place. We have two screens, out of which one is for the match and the other is for karaoke.”
Different places have their own mantras with regards to screening of games. On one hand Tanmoy Chatterjee of The Fishermans Wharf (Cavelossim) says “The UB Group approached us with the idea of screening matches sponsored by them, and going with it has been one of the biggest boosts to sales and turnovers. During the IPL, we had customers calling in and asking us if we were screening the matches. Only if we were, they would come to the restaurant. And everyone wanted to sit right in front of the screen and we had people booking tables in advance for this. During the matches the scene at the restaurant was completely different. People did not mind if their food was a bit delayed as they were too engrossed in the match. Everyone from the guests to the staff and even the chefs would enjoy the games together and the screaming and cheering went on till late.” While on the other hand, Lawrence Fernandes of 49ers (Colva) says “We have been screening live matches since 2004, as I wanted to promote the restaurant. Earlier we used to be open only till mid night, then taking stock of the trends in sport timings as well as tourists, we became a 24 hour joint, which helps us in screening live matches as most of the time they start post mid night. Customers want entertainment while they enjoy their meal, so we felt sports was the best option. The crowd’s enthusiasm makes it feel almost like you are watching the match live at the stadium itself.”
Be it a sponsored event of an inborn idea, the screening of games will definitely go a long way. As for the future, there is no need to watch your favorite sports at home. Manmeet Singh of the Grand Hyatt (Bambolim) says “The Capiz Bar at Grand Hyatt kicked off football fever with a special viewing of the match between Denmark and Netherlands on a large screen last weekend. It was a packed house with football cheers ringing in the air. Many guests came in sporting their team colours. It is an ideal place to enjoy the matches with family and friends over a snack and a selection of refreshing drinks and beers on a large screen. It’s a great place to cheer for your favorite teams, as there is great atmosphere. As for the future we have many promotions lined up and Capiz Bar with its big screen will host events like Wimbledon, Olympics and ICC Twenty 20 World Cup.
Lyndon Furtado of Down the Road adds “As for the future we have tied up with Red Bull and as a promotional event will be bringing down a real F1 racing car and have a tire changing competition, which will be a first for Goa.” Something that is bound to make all race lovers churn with excitement.
With regards to business, be it in the south of Goa or the north, there is a mutual consent among these entrepreneurs that even if business isn’t doing too well, come a sporting event and screening is all it takes to jingle the cash register. But what do places like these offer that the comfort and pleasure of watching a match in your own home don’t? Louis Dias says “I watched the IPL at O Coquieiro this year and it sure as hell beat watching it at home, the atmosphere was electric. There were also great offers available as well as prizes, looking forward to the next year now.”
Aaron Pereira adds “There is no place in Goa that makes you feel like you are in the stadium except Down the Road. It is the perfect blend of food, drink and ambience. The décor and crowd is breathtaking. If there is a match that is not screened downstairs, you are allowed to go upstairs and watch it there”
Sebastian Alvares says “The name 49ers reminds me of a basketball team and that is exactly how 49ers works. Perfect blend of all the essentials required to enjoy a game. Best place to be for all sporting events.” Andre D’Cunha believes “There is no place like Fiplees, the crowd, the atmosphere the food and drinks. That is all you can ask for to enjoy the perfect game, be it any sport cricket or football.” Joanne Fernandes says “I am not a great sports fan and I go to St. Anthony’s for the entertainment. But during the games even the entertainment becomes secondary. The people make the place come alive and so does the food. Even tennis draws in the crowds here”
So if the feasibility of attending a match at the stadium is absent then why bother? All you need to do is head to one of these places. They all give you larger than life atmospheres, great food and drinks and if none of these reasons satisfy you could just go to watch the match