As the beer flowed and football fans yelled and cheered during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the merry ringing of cash registers was music to the ears of bar owners in Wan Chai and Lan Kwai Fong.
Local bars recorded sales of more than HK$1 billion for the June 14 to July 15 period, nearly 40 percent more than their normal monthly revenue, according to the Hong Kong Bar & Club Association.
The estimated sales of around 1,300 watering holes in the city during the period was based on the turnover of 300 of its members, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
After deducting the cost of hiring extra staff and fees for airing cable broadcasts of the live event in their respective establishments, the pub operators made almost HK$200 million in profit, which is 35 percent more than their earnings in the last FIFA World Cup in 2014 and 20 percent more than their usual monthly earnings, the association said.
Chin Chun-wing, the association’s vice president, said bar sales during the 2018 World Cup was the best compared to those of other editions of the quadrennial sporting event.
On average, sales of a 1,000 square foot bar amounted to HK$600,000 during the one-month period, while a 3,000 square foot outlet was around HK$1.5 million, Chin said.
The higher sales could be attributed to the schedule of this year’s World Cup games, which also happened to be the peak hours of local bars, he said.
As a result, all the shouting and cheering attracted both football fans and ordinary drinkers to the bars, Chin said, adding that half of the customers were non-regular customers.
He said sales are not expected to drop sharply after the World Cup because students studying overseas will return for the summer holidays and spend a lot of time in local bars.
He said bars are a stable industry that is not easily affected by the current economic environment, and as such, there is no remarkable growth or decline in the number of bars in the city.
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