The 2018 FIFA World Cup has been rather strange.
Historically and currently elite teams struggled in the group stages—Portugal and Argentina barely squeezed through, while Germany was ousted after a major upset against South Korea.
In the Round of 16, which began Saturday, June 30, host-country Russia eliminated powerhouse Spain. After barely squeezing through the group stages, both Argentina and Portugal, starring Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, respectively, were eliminated.
However, this year’s World Cup has been unusual off the field as well.
“It’s a strange World Cup because the games are in the morning,” said Roy Avellaneda, Chelsea City Councilor and avid fan of Argentina. “Having it in the morning, in these time zones, that negated the previous benefits of this and the gathering.”
The time difference is particularly impactful after the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil, which has very similar time zones compared the U.S. With games being played at times like 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., there’s simply no time for people to gather for games during work hours, Avellaneda said.
There’s no denying that the World Cup remains a popular event, however.
“It’s something that’s on 24 hours at this point,” Avellaneda said. “It’s very pervasive that the World Cup is going on. Whether you go to a restaurant, whether you go to a bar, there’s a promotion going on.”
“Particularly in the Latino community, there’s a lot of attention,” said Avellaneda, who has Argentinian roots and runs Pan Y Café, a Latin American style cafe.
While his store doesn’t see as significant of a benefit as a sports bar would during a major sporting event, Avellaneda said he certainly doesn’t mind the additional customers who watch the games at his café in the mornings.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues this wee.
The quarterfinals begin this Friday, and the semifinals begin Tuesday, July 10. The event will conclude on Sunday, July 15.