Women’s World Cup packs pubs to the rafters

The Matildas versus England FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ semi-final game is predicted to be the biggest midweek night for pubs since pre-COVID-19.

Australian Hotels Association SA president David Basheer told the Adelaide Advertiser that South Australian venues were installing more screens, promoting Matildas drink specials and expecting a huge numbers of customers through their doors.

He said that when Australia defeated France last Saturday “there were not too many (pubs) that did not have the ‘full’ sign up’’.

“We are expecting it to be a very, very big night,’’ he said. “It’s one thing to have a big Friday or Saturday night, but to have a big Wednesday night is uplifting. The safe bet is that it will be the biggest weeknight since COVID-19.’’

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™ has seen a $7.66billion rise in travel and retail spending in Australia, with a sizeable chunk of the windfall going to pubs, clubs and bars around the country.

According to financial infrastructure platform Airwallex, NSW businesses have reaped the biggest financial benefits from the tournament, at $2.98billion, followed by Victoria at $2.3billion, Queensland at $1.55billion, Western Australia at $663.2million and South Australia at $160.9million.

“In the current environment this has been a screamer of a goal for the Australian economy,” Airwallex ANZ general manager Luke Latham told The Australian.

“The world game is living up to its name with our tracker showing international visitors have so far spent an extra $4.53billion at Australian hotels and retailers.”

On Saturday, a record-breaking 8.25 million Aussies tuned-in to watch the Matildas make history, with hundreds of thousands of people gathering in stadiums, pubs and around outdoor screens.

Merivale told The Daily Telegraph that over 40,000 patrons attended its 21 venues that screened the game. The capacity crowds have led the hospitality group announced it will be offering patrons 49% off drinks across their pubs and participating bars this Wednesday, August 16 from 6-8pm in support of the Matildas’ semi-final clash against England.

“The Matildas incredible cliffhanger game on Saturday saw a phenomenal coming together of support from Australian’s all around the world. This Wednesday, we’re going to back that up and then some,” Merivale owner Justin Hemmes said.

Hospitality group Solotel also had record attendance on Saturday night across its venues.

CEO Elliot Solomon said: “The atmosphere has been absolutely electric. Preparations are underway for Wednesday and we’re expecting some of the biggest crowds yet.”

Endeavour Group CEO Steve Donohue said the company’s hotels arm was booming during the tournament.

“I was chatting to (the executive) who leads our operations across hotels nationally the other day and he has been there for a long time, and he said to me hotels haven’t felt this good since Cathy Freeman in the 2000 Olympics,” he said.

“People are absolutely back into pubs, and they are there on times of day and days of the week they wouldn’t ordinarily be there.”

It’s equally atmospheric in rural Australia. Club manager of the ex-serviceman’s club in the tiny Riverina town of Lockhart, Bronwyn Anderson, told The Guardian the bar was “five deep” and often dead silent watching Saturday night’s match against France.

The club is setting aside its normal trivia night so the town’s population of 818 people can watch the game together.

Shenannigans Irish Bar & Restaurant in Darwin was packed to the rafters on Saturday night. It’s a similiar story at the Hotel Darwin, which posted on Facebook: “Quick update! We’re switching up our plans for tomorrow night. Instead of the pool competition, let’s get together to cheer on the amazing Matildas in their World Cup soccer match!”

Meanwhile, “I’d have had my b—s ripped out if I don’t show it,” manager Bryan Guppy said when asked if the Gayndah Grand Hotel was screening the match.

The Watermark Glenelg is among the South Australian pubs loving the World Cup action.

Many hotels are even mixing up green and gold cocktails, such as the Midori Splices on offer at the Southern Cross Hotel in St Peters, NSW.

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