Soccer World Cup has kick started in Brazil and the next one month will keep billions of fan across the globe shuttle to and fro between high waves of enthrallments and disappointments.  Nevertheless, this mega event of sports is not just about high voltage matches, where legions of fans across the globe cheer for their favorite sports team. The event makes a tremendous business sense as well, be it in the form of selling of tickets, broadcast rights or offering gift vouchers, combo deals and merchandises.

It is quite obvious that, Dubai with one of the world’s youngest and fashionable populace cannot remain enclosed from this high intensity event. The different communities living in UAE, Arabs, Europeans, South and East Asians, Africans; all are expected to be highly involved in the game. One of the significant commercial façade of the game in UAE involves large scale retail activities, capitalizing on the direct emotional konnect, which soccer invokes in the thousands of its fan living in the emirate.

Given the fervor in the city, at Research Konnection, we thought to evaluate the mega event as it has great impact on food retail, especially Restaurants, Sports Bars and Shisha joints in the city. The given analysis has been produced based on an online survey conducted on 570 young respondents aged 18-35, living in Dubai. The respondents comprised of three major ethnic groups, European, Asian (Primarily Indians, Pakistanis, Srilankans and Filipinos) and Arab. The survey has also been complemented with some face to face interviews conducted with managers of food retail outlet in Dubai. Some of the interesting insights which have been derived out of the market survey have been indicated below:

Soccer Mania

The craze for soccer is soaring high in the emirate. Out of the 570 respondents surveyed, 359 (63 percent) of the respondents have indicated they feel very excited for the upcoming event. On being asked whether they have got plans for extra spending during the soccer world cup, 222 (39 percent) replied in an affirmative tone. In the context of different platforms for watching the game, the response has been captured below.

Shows the Most Preferred Avenue to Watch the Soccer Game

Sports Bar

The culture of sports bars are also picking up fast in Dubai, which are spread across Bur Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Jumeirah, Dubai Media City and Marina etc.,  with some of them big enough to manage around 1500 guests. Many of the venues, which have hitherto been night spots and restaurants, have been modified into sports bar to capitalize the extensive soccer euphoria. During the coming football season most of the sports bar is coming up with bucket deals, discounts, giveaway and prizes. Some of the sports bar has free entry, while others have entry fee associated. For some, the entry fee could be redeemed through drinks and beverages and hence making them literally free.

Shisha Cafes

Like other parts of the Arab world, Shisha is an important constituent of life in Dubai. From suave exorbitant upmarket Shisha joints in Dubai Marina and Jumeirah to other economic options in International City, Bur Dubai, Deira and Qusais area these joints could be seen bustling with locals, expatriates and tourists discussing different shades of life in the emirate over their favorite Shisha flavor.


There are near about 6000 restaurants in Dubai, quite a huge number for a city where the population is just over 2 million. The bullish food and beverage market in Dubai is driven by high per capita income, large tourism influx and general propensity for dining out.

Impact of Soccer World Cup on Dubai Economy

The research findings suggest that near around two third of the respondents prefer to go out to watch the game outside in a social setting. This implies great business for numerous sports bars, shisha cafes and restaurants in the emirate. The similar sentiments have also been confirmed with our one to one discussion with managers of many such places. The discussion has revealed that businesses in such places are expected to pick manifold compared to usual business due to the ongoing soccer world cup. Given that most of the matches will be scheduled at 8 PM to 2 AM Dubai time, going out to watch matches will be convenient for the soccer fans.

Another interesting fact that will contribute towards the top line of many such places is the holy month of Ramadan, which is going to start in the last week of June as they will present interesting iftar and suhoor meal offers to soccer fans. During the one month old time period Muslims in UAE will keep fast whole day and hence one of their favorite thing would be visit outside cafes and restaurants to watch matches and relax after the iftar. Hence, the apparent conjunction of Ramadan with soccer world cup will catalyze further business for food retail in the emirate.

Soccer is without doubt the most popular sports in the world, connecting billions of people across continents cutting across nationality, race, gender and communities. The effervescence of the game naturally intensifies, when such mega event is looked through the prism of Dubai, a global destination for fun and frolic, exemplified through thousands of restaurants, pubs, night clubs, shisha cafes, sports bars and other avenues. With every passing day it is believed that the footfalls will increase and business will soar high.

This Research report has been compiled by Research Konnection Team, a Dubai based market research and feasibility study advisory with key interest in real estate, hospitality, tourism and retail sectors. In case of any further information feel free to get in touch with us as at

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at
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