BIG SCREENS SCORE WITH FOOTBALL HOT SPOTS

Hotels are likely to enjoy brisk business in the coming weeks leading to the Euro 2004 Championship finals on July 4. A variety of special promotions, including the provision of wide TV screens for live broadcasts of the action-packed games, ...

By Ramona Ruiz

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Published: Sun 13 Jun 2004, 1:58 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:48 AM

are being offered to provide a fun-filled experience for soccer fans among UAE nationals and expatriates alike.

InterContinental Dubai is offering gift vouchers for two at Palm Grill for those who dine at its two popular outlets La Moda and The Pub and correctly predict the winners in the semi-finals on June 30 and July 1 and the finals on July 4.

Sixteen national teams, drawn into four groups, will compete to win the championship on July 4. Euro 2004, which boasts of so many star players, is the biggest and most exciting soccer show other than the World Cup.

"Last year, during the World Cup, we really had such an enthusiastic response from our guests that we had to open our ballroom to accommodate 300 people. This was in addition to La Moda and The Pub which were also filled with guests who came to watch the games on our big TV screens," Haitham Mattar, Director, Sales and Marketing, InterContinental Dubai told City Times.

Klaus Christandl, Deputy General Manager, Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel and Towers, said: "We are running scratch and win promotions in Carlsberg and Heineken during the Euro 2004, where guests can win free beverage and small gifts. Business at our Chelsea Arms Pub is expected to flourish during the live broadcasts of the Euro 2004 matches."

Champions Bar and Hofbrauhaus at the JW Marriott Dubai promises avid soccer fans a front row seat for all the action. Germany supporters must keep their beverage bills safe throughout the tournament, as 11 people will have all their bills fully refunded if Germany wins.

Alan Grimes, the new Entertainments Manager, has been busy putting Champions bar back on the map as the place in Dubai for Good Food, Good Sport and Good Times. This month will see the bar awash with European football strips during the UEFA Euro 2004 final tournament, which commenced yesterday.

On each day of the 16-team group stages there will be two games, one at 8pm and one at 10.45pm In the final sets of group games, both fixtures will be played simultaneously at 10.45pm. All the matches will be shown live in Champions, with big screen coverage and smaller TVs located throughout the bar. Wherever you sit, you will be front row for all the action.

One can bring one's country colours along and the Champions team will happily display them during the match, to create a true stadium atmosphere. Match-day food will also be served, including piping hot pies and chips with curry sauce.

Dubliners, Le Meridien Dubai's Irish pub and restaurant, will have five giant screens during the whole duration of the Euro 2004 Championships. Three screens had been placed inside the restaurant, while a Marquee or air-conditioned tent outside the restaurant will have two big screens.

"We would have live broadcasts of the games at 8pm and 11pm daily. We are expecting good business. Having a Marquee is a novel idea, and we anticipate full house at the Dubliners," a spokesperson of the hotel said.

Ashwith Fernandes, public relations officer at Dusit Dubai, said: "The Siam Bar is a popular place for most of our guests. During the Euro 2004, each tablemat will feature each day's game, the timings of the matches and other details. It will have a 53-inch wide TV screens. The bar area will have some quick snack items. We have a special promotion for our Singa. Six bottles will cost Dh89. Happy hours will be from 6-9pm."

She added: "We will surely have quite a number of guests as most of the expatriates here are football-lovers. We expect a good amount of business given the high turn-out."

Mayfair Hotel, on the other, hand will not be offering any special promotions. Pradeep Jena, Food and Beverage Manager at the hotel, said: "We have not decided on any promotions for the Euro 2004. We, however, have other ongoing promotions." He said that with other hotels offering special promotions and facilities, the hotel will surely be affected in some way.

Vinot Tiku, Food and Beverage Manager, Sea View Hotel, said: "We have a pub called The Lounge where our guests can watch football. We do not have any special promotions for Euro 2004. We don't think we will be affected if other hotels are running their own promotions for this event as our sister hotel, Ascot, will be showing matches at its Vacio Corner, an Irish pub."

Shisha shops follow suit

Shisha shops have taken preparations to receive more customers for the next three weeks. Ihsaan Sleem, Manager of a coffee shop in Dubai, said that TVs have been already set at most of Dubai's Shisha and coffee shops. "Football is one of the most favourable sports for youth. A big volume of customers had crowded at our shop during the last World Cup, people here love the game and we expect many customers to show up during this prominent world event," he said.

What makes a Shisha coffee attractive to customers during such events ? Mr. Sleem says it’s about enjoying the company of friends and being with fans who show up at such places to encourage teams representing the countries participating in the tournament.

Although the idea of watching games at a coffee shop would be appealing to many people, some prefer to stay at their places and enjoy the games. Eva Rodriguez, a bank employee, said that the Euro 2004 Cup is one of the most prominent international events every four years. I have always backed up the British team, but this year I think that Italy will bag the championship," she said.

Expectations of people vary with many strong teams participating in Euro 2004. France, Germany, and Italy are among the teams expected to reach the final stages and bag on the championship, said Mark Danube, an employee at an insurance company.

"I believe the performance of teams during the past few months have shown that France and Italy would reach the finals. There will be many interesting matches to follow up including one today between France and England, June 16 Russia and Portugal, June 20 Spain and Portugal, June 14 Denmark and Italy, and June 23 Germany and Czech Republic," Danube noted.


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