World Cup fever grips Oman as cafés, hotels set up giant screens to lure fans
From planning group viewings on giant projector screens at cafés and sheesha joints to buying television sets for homes, the World Cup fans will do whatever it takes to enjoy the one-month sports fiesta.
Cafés and sheesha joints too throughout the city have left no stone unturned to lure fans.
An official of Kargeen Café at Madinat as Sultan Qaboos said it will have two indoor tents. “One will be able to accommodate 60 people and the other 90. Both the tents have big screens.”
Money is not an issue when it comes to football. Fans will have to spend at least RO53 to buy beIN channel smartcards. Every match from the football tournament in Russia will be broadcast on the pay-TV platform.
“We have tied up with all major companies. The card costs RO53 for a month if you are already a subscriber. New subscribers will have to pay more as they would need a receiver, dish, channel box, a cable, and an annual subscription. In addition, installation charges will also have to be paid,” a customer service official at beIN in Qatar said.
Sabri Abdullah, a football fan, said, “I don’t mind paying more. World Cup comes only once in four years. I just paid RO53 for a one-month subscription.”
World Cup is something not to be missed, said Abdullah. “And this time, our work will not be affected because matches start in the evenings. I am so excited and I have reserved a room at home for the purpose because I plan to watch the matches with my friends.”
Meanwhile, across the sultanate, both young and old are gearing up to celebrate the spirit of football.
“I will be watching the matches with my friends in one of the coffee shops where they have put up big screens. It is more fun when you are with a big group. We want to feel as if we are in Russia,” Taha Hameed, another football fan said.
For such fans, the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre will have seven big screens.
However some fans prefer to be home. “I have bought a big TV especially for this as I don’t like going out to watch matches,” Hassan al Naamani, an Amerat resident said.
Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort & Spa will also broadcast the matches live from a dedicated World Cup tent. With one giant screen and two additional plasma TVs, the fully air-conditioned tents will operate until July 15. “A minimum spending of RO10 per person applies.
“Advance table bookings for popular matches is recommended,” an official statement of the resort said.