The World Cup quarter-final match against France should make TV history – with more than 26 million set to tune in.
Pubs, bars, and restaurants across the UK will be filled with around six million fans sipping 12.2 million pints during the hotly anticipated match, ploughing £71.2million into the nation’s ailing hospitality industry.
And with the competition being held in winter for the first time, another 21.1 million fans will watch the match from home, splashing out an average of £100 on booze and snacks, plus either home-cooked or takeaway food.
Retail sales in total are expected to hit £151.3million on the back of tonight’s game, with £23.5million to be spent on sportswear, £7.8million on souvenirs and £19.7million on TV electricals.
The figures by vouchercodes.co.uk come at a time when the retail and hospitality industries are faced with a “perfect storm of increased energy costs and supply-driven price hikes”.
Consumer expert Scott Dixon told the Express: “The World Cup spend will provide a much-needed boost to the retail and hospitality industry at a time when they need all the support they can get from consumers, who are also facing unprecedented hardship.”
After two-and-a-half years of losses following Covid restrictions, pubs were hoping for a 10 percent boost to business during the tournament. Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality chief executive, said the World Cup boost has already exceeded this target – with an 11 percent increase in food and drink sales so far.
She said: “We’re hopeful that this boost continues throughout the final stages and that the public continue to turn out to support their local pubs, many of which continue to face significant challenges due to the cost-of-doing-business crisis.”
Last night Downing Street said the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be watching the match with friends and colleagues at his countryside retreat, Chequers in Buckinghamshire.
And a source said he is likely to fly to Qatar for the final to cheer on the Three Lions if they make their first final appearance since their historic triumph in 1966. However, Mr Sunak’s attendance would provoke criticism.
Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers and the crackdown on support for LGBTQ rights have triggered widespread outrage. As many as 500 workers are thought to have died while building World Cup stadiums.
Once the tournament got underway, the biggest flashpoint for controversy became the crackdown of tournament officials on rainbow clothing and other multicoloured accessories.
Homosexuality remains illegal in Qatar and can be punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Days before the opening game on November 20, the host nation announced alcohol would not be sold in stadiums, despite governing body Fifa’s £65million deal with Budweiser.
Mr Sunak’s decision to watch the game at “home” will mean he joins the huge number of parties that should provide a major boost to British supermarkets.
James Hardiman, senior analyst at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Given the cold weather, many people are expected to watch from the comfort of their sofa, meaning the sales of snacks and alcohol will do well, particularly if England win.”
Sainsbury’s expects to see a 35 percent uplift across crisps and snacks this weekend and a 30 percent rise in sales of ready meals today compared to last Saturday.
A 10-15 percent increase in beer purchases is expected too compared to a usual weekend. Asda is expecting to see a seven per cent increase on beer and cider sales for the World Cup, and said it anticipates around a 10 percent rise in sales of popcorn and snacks.
Co-op is expecting to sell nearly 1.5 million bottles of beer today, with pizza also predicted to be a top seller. It also has a winning meal deal, with two pizzas and a four-pack of beer for £6.
It joins many of the “big six” supermarkets in offering some enticing deals to make sure football fans who would rather watch the game from the comfort of their own home have the perfect snacks.
Aldi has launched four limited-edition World Cup beers especially for the international tournament for a budget-friendly £1.69.
Natalie Mitchell, director of Own Brand at Waitrose, said: “Our customers are getting geared up for the big game. Whoever you’re supporting, we have everything to make the match a winning experience – from snacks and party food to TVs and sound bars.”