BALTIMORE (WJZ) — World Cup fever. Brazil kicks off the 2014 World Cup with its first matchup. The economic boost is being felt in Baltimore.
Rick Ritter has more on the major kick that businesses here are getting.
Many owners say they will double, maybe even triple, their business over the next month. But the World Cup is more than just cash and goals. Many fans say it’s one of the only events that brings the world together.
Packed house, louder than ever. World Cup fever couldn’t be higher in Baltimore.
“It is Christmas in June. There’s no doubt about it,” said Kal Awad. “Once the first one ends and then you basically wait another four years for the next one.”
For Jeff Bejma, he and his customers have been waiting anxiously for this.
Brazil 2014 nets Bejma’s bar, Slainte, a major kick in business.
“Nothing quite compares to the World Cup. It draws in a lot of people that normally wouldn’t come in,” he said.
Double the money, maybe even triple. Thursday is the perfect example.
“We’re sitting here on a rainy Thursday and we’re absolutely packed. I think that speaks volumes,” said Bejma.
Over in Canton, same story, but different bar.
“One of the biggest ones right behind St. Patrick’s Day,” said Paul Cuda, owner, Claddagh Pub.
Claddagh Pub welcomes in hundreds for the opening match between Brazil and Croatia.
“It makes a normal month of June a lot better,” said Cuda.
It’s an economic boost the city of Baltimore never shies away from.
“These are people who are out and spending money and having a good time, when normally, they’d be at their jobs,” said Mike Evitts, Downtown Partnership of Baltimore.
With a World Cup every four years, many fans say the most vital part is what the event does to bring cultures across the world together for an entire month.
An indoor soccer player himself, David Danovsky says it’s a learning experience for each nationality.
“You can see some of the cultures start to learn how to be better and do better things from each other,” he said.
And watching the games without an atmosphere defeats the purpose.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what country it is, you just get along on this day,” said Awad. “It’s great for Baltimore.”
The U.S.A. doesn’t play until Monday. Some bars open their doors as early as 7 a.m. Come Monday morning, they are expecting dozens of fans to be waiting in line.
The World Cup runs until July 13.
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