5 JUNE 2002
Bar owners are not happy with this years timing of the World Cup finals. Not only are they battling an economic slowdown, but the early-morning timings of the matches also means they are not finding this years footballing bonanza to be the guaranteed money spinner it usually is.
The matches are played in Japan and Korea, mostly during the morning, at 7.30 am, 8.30 a.m. 9.30 am, 11.00 a.m. and 1.30pm. Many establishments are not opening as early as 7.00 am, while problems caused by the sunlight affecting vision on a big screen, make it unsuitable for viewing in the daytime.
Most of the bars at Bugibba are opening according to which game is being played. If it is England, Italy, Germany, or Brazil who are playing, then most of them open, if not then they are opening up during normal hours.
Most of the bar owners are not making the same money they normally do when the games take place in Europe.
Most of the games are being played when people are at work, or when they are waking up, which makes it very difficult for the bars to expect the usual clientele.
Meanwhile in Paceville, the hub of night entertainment, some places are opting to remain open for the morning game. But like in Bugibba, the majority are opening according to whos playing.
All in all, bars are not making extra cash from the football games. In fact, some are even losing as night-time trade has slowed down a bit because most of the football fanatics are getting up early to watch the games, so they are not staying out late at night.
At least many restaurants, clubs and 'day bars' (those who open during the day and serve tea, coffee, rolls, toasts etc.) are having a better time of it. Especially during the 1.00 p.m. match many workers are opting to watch the game in a restaurant, some even on the "Big Screen".
Restaurants and clubs in the Hamrun, Marsa, Gzira, Sliema and St Julians areas are having busier times with people booking tables for lunch so that they can enjoy a game of football while eating.
Another sector, which is doing well, is the white goods business. Many portable tv sets have been sold as a good number of offices have given their thumbs up for their workers to watch the game on portables. Better than having a whole work force applying for leave.