No World Cup bonanza for HK bars

11th June, 2014 by Rupert Millar

Bars in Hong Kong are unlikely to see much in the way of a financial boost during the coming World Cup because of the extreme time differences between South America and Asia.

beer-footballAccording to the South China Morning Post, many bar and pub owners are confident of an increase in trade during the month long tournament because the matches in Brazil are taking place so early in the morning in Hong Kong.

With a time difference of 11 to 12 hours, most matches will be taking place between midnight and 4am and many patronsbar owners do not want to subscribe to pay-television channels as they did last time as they do not think the cost will be repaid, with a business boost of just 5% being expected this time around compared to 10% four years ago.

Tommy Fong of the Lan Kwai Fong Association said there had been fewer corporate bookings this time in the association’s venues.

Toby Cooper, owner of popular Soho pub The Globe, told the drinks business that the main problem is not only the licensing for venues to show matches (The Globe is until 2am) but also which television stations are licensed to air games.

The constant change between terrestrial and cable on broadcasting rights for many sports is a severe headache to bar owners who wish to show their patrons live sport.

“NowTV and cable have swapped Premier league football back and forwards for a long time, forcing bar operators to have to have subscriptions every time they change,” explained Cooper.

“A new pay tv channel, a part of TVB have just got the rights for the World Cup, Six Nations and a few other events. Not only does it get expensive adding different subscriptions, it’s not always physically possible in all locations.”

Then again, as the tournament only comes around once every four years, one bar owner told SCMP, “it’s not like we have missed a business opportunity.”

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