'It's a big draw': Euro soccer championship provides business boost

The owner of the Niche Lounge in Halifax is expecting some big soccer crowds to watch Sunday’s final game featuring England and Italy.

"People are just looking to get out now," said George Eletheros, who added fans of the sport are intense and engaged. "In my opinion, they are more passionate than hockey fans. They come out and they support."

The European championship, or 'Euro' as it is best known, will wrap up this weekend. There were 24 countries competing in the tournament.

Eletheros said soccer is good for the bar business.

"It is a big draw," said Eletheros.

Several downtown Halifax establishments are looking to get in on the action.

"We're going have the TVs on the big screen on and sound on throughout the whole pub," said Durty Nellies General Manager Eugene McCabe. “We expect lots of fans from both sides."

Eletheros said downtown pubs and lounges are clearly pulling some extra revenue after a tough year.

"Anything like this helps," said Eletheros who is ready to host a large crowd.

He said he expects "probably about 200 or 250."

Matt Holten from Soccer Nova Scotia said England and Italy battling on the world stage is also an opportunity to grow the sport.

"People are getting excited about it,” said Holten. “People in the beer gardens are watching it and walking around with jerseys on.”

Holten said anytime there is a buzz around soccer, it often results in kids becoming more interested in the game, which leads to growth at the grassroots level.