Millions of sports enthusiasts are expected to gather in restaurants, bars, street markets, and malls in India and Pakistan, as well as around the world, to watch the men’s Cricket World Cup match between the two South Asian rivals. The highly anticipated game will take place at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the world’s largest cricket ground, in front of a crowd of 130,000. The one-day international match, with a potential duration of up to nine hours, holds extra significance as it marks the first time in seven years that Pakistan has played in India amid strained relations between the two cricket-loving nations.
Given the extended duration of the match, venues are organizing various activities to keep fans engaged. For example, in Delhi, the DLF Promenade luxury mall is hosting a viewing party with a fee of 1,200 rupees ($14), billed as “Delhi’s biggest,” featuring experiential bars, live music, and food. In Lucknow, sports management company Gold Standard Sports is showing the match at an indoor stadium for 2,500 fans.
Restaurants are also introducing unique offerings to attract fans. Tijuana, a Mexican restaurant in Mumbai, has a package featuring cricket-themed trivia rounds and a special menu subtly incorporating elements of Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Additionally, drinks infused with green and saffron colors, representing the flags of India and Pakistan, will be served. To accommodate the influx of cricket fans, Indian railways will run two special trains from Mumbai to Ahmedabad on the day, as announced on its website. The excitement and anticipation surrounding this cricket match have created a vibrant atmosphere, with fans looking forward to enjoying the game with friends and a festive vibe.
The Cricket World Cup, making its return to India after 12 years, is poised to have a substantial economic impact, potentially contributing up to $2.6 billion to India’s economy. The tournament is expected to drive increased consumption of food and beverages, benefiting not only various outlets but also popular Indian delivery services like Zomato and Swiggy, along with Foodpanda in Pakistan. To prevent disruptions during India-Pakistan games, initiatives have been taken in Pakistan to ensure a consistent electricity supply and prevent power outages.
Beyond the subcontinent, diaspora communities are gearing up for the event, even at inconvenient hours. In locations like New Jersey, a banquet hall plans to screen the game at 4:30 a.m., while Melbourne in Australia anticipates late-night screenings. Due to the prolonged duration of the match, some fans prefer private gatherings with friends, ordering food, and engaging in various activities. A cricket enthusiast from Chennai, Ajay Thomas John, intends to project the match in his home and spend time with friends playing games.