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Indian Brands look to cash in on football frenzy

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Malls, restaurants gear up for more footfalls; unveil offers to attract lovers of the game

MUMBAI: With the FIFA World Cup kicking off in Russia on Thursday, several brands, including sportswear, restaurants and pubs, intend to cash in on the football fever that has gripped the country.

While the sport still plays second fiddle to cricket in India, many restaurants are expecting huge footfalls during the month-long tournament. Most eateries and restaurants that have a pan-India presence expect a 40-50 per cent jump in revenue during the season. Malls and restaurants have also made elaborate arrangements and running offers and discounts to lure more customers.

While most of the offers are in the metros, football-crazy States such as Goa, West Bengal, and Kerala, are also seeing offers and discounts at local pubs and restaurants. The restaurants have installed large screens for fans to watch the matches.

The Beer Cafe, a popular pub in the metros, has launched a “bet my tap” offer. Customers need to log in to the app and bet on the winning team, the numbers of goals players would score, and the like. The betting stops after 30 minutes and winners get rewards in form of brewmiles (on the app that can be encashed later) or free beers at the outlet.

Rahul Singh, Founder and CEO of The Beer Cafe, said, “We wanted to add more excitement to the sporting action and raise the stakes for our customers. In addition to providing the perfect venue for a celebratory night out if your team wins, or drown your sorrows if your team loses, we are extending the perfect platform for enthusiasts to use their football knowledge and prediction skills to win beers!.”

Hello Guppy in BKC, Mumbai, has created a special Japanese food menu and cocktails for FIFA 2018. Besides, guests spin the ‘wheel of fortune’ positioned at the entrance and avail 20 per cent discount on the bill. Alternatively, one can buy a draught of beer and get the other one gratis. Popular liquor brand Viiking Beverages is expecting a 50-60 per cent hike in sales for major brands such as Goa Kings Beer and Royal Oak Whiskey. “This year will be all the more special as the football mania in India has reached unprecedented levels. We are projecting a 60 per cent spike in our flagship brand — Goa Kings Beer. Currently we are selling 2,000 bottles every day and are expecting this to go up to 80,000 bottles per day during the FIFA World Cup,” said Manoj Asrani, Group CMO, Viiking Ventures Pvt Ltd.

Huge potential

Brand consultant Harish Bijoor said, “Football is the cricket of day-after tomorrow and holds big potential…that is why brands are slowly starting to wake up.”

“We are becoming an impatient nation. The sporting context in India with respect to the viewer of sport, has moved from five-day cricket to one day fixtures to 20:20 fixtures. All in all, patient cricket has given way to impatient cricket of the IPL kind. Football is a 90-minute game. A perfect fit for the impatient Indian and I foresee brands to invest heavily in this game in coming years,” he added.

Experts also feel that Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri becoming the second-highest international goal scorer after Lionel Messi has also generated lot of spark and love for football.

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