The USMNT’s run in the World Cup may be over, but their impact across the country was felt throughout.
In New York City, finding the right watch party to follow along the steady stream of world cup games may be difficult, but it could also open the door to a tremendous opportunity for certain sports bars.
The Game Haus in Long Island City was a clear winner in the “watch party” games for the World Cup and the USMNT. Opening three months ago, the purpose of the gaming sports bar was to “try to do an elevated sports bar with arcades and make it a fun place by doing events and parties.”
The emergence of the 2022 FIFA World Cup has given Nelson Leung, restaurant founder, a chance to show how his unique sports bar could be a beacon for different people to come in and enjoy themselves.
“We actually do a lot of events for corporations and birthday parties. It’s a lot of stuff we are doing. With a venue like this, especially in Queens, there are not a lot of places like this that, during these games, people are still playing games while having a good time. Just something different.” Leung said.
The staff isn’t wrong with what they try to do. As hundreds packed themselves into the bar to watch the United States men’s national team play the Netherlands, it was an opportunity to bring different kinds of fans together.
“I’m a fair weather fan, but my husband is a big fan so I get dragged into it.”Amanda Copeland of LIC said. “We live a ten-minute walk away from Game Haus.”
Copeland’s comments were echoed by her friend saying “I can’t believe how many people are here.”
The gaming sports bar wasn’t just for those that casually watch the sport either. Throughout the entire first half of the USMNT’s knockout game, the large crowd provided plenty of cheers for their countrymen and was active in the viewing experience.
But as the game started getting out of reach and the Netherlands came out to a 1-0 halftime lead, a calm understanding seemed to usher through the room.
“I’m glad to see the USMNT in here, but there are no expectations. It’s all an experience and getting it ready for 2026…I didn’t really expect us to make it to this point anyway.” said one adult.
Even so, the difficulty of building a national power in soccer is a difficult thing for some who don’t see the importance of it in the United States.
“In my opinion, it’s kind of tough just cause we have so many sports in America where soccer isn’t appreciated like Europe is…But in terms of, I feel like just cause it’s the World Cup it’s just people want to watch just because the USA is in it.” Kevin of Long Island City explained.
The ruckus crowd in Game Haus got going later in the second half with the USMNT getting brilliant chances but being unable to capitalize. Even with the men’s team bowing out to an experienced Netherlands squad 3-1, it’s clear that the World Cup continues to bring people across the country closer together and offer new and exciting opportunities for new business.