Awwww yeahhh! For the round-ball lovers amongst us, June and July 2010 represent something we’ve been waiting four long years for: the World Cup. Woooot!
Whichever way you slice it, the World Cup of soccer is waaay bigger than any other event in world sport. Bigger than the Olympics. Bigger than the Rugby World Cup. And definitely bigger than the World Series (which, let’s face it, is highly inappropriately named!).
There’s no doubt that many, many expats living in Buenos Aires will want to watch as many World Cup games as possible. So to help you do so, we’ve put together this handy, all-in-one guide to watching the World Cup 2010 in Buenos Aires.
Who’s playing when?
First things first: in order to properly enjoy the World Cup, you need to know exactly what’s going to happen and when. That’s not easy when you have 32 teams in eight groups playing up to seven games each over a full calendar month!
But never fear, young soccer fan, because a certain website called Marca.com has designed a brilliant free web tool that allows you to very easily find out who is playing, where and on what date. You can query it by team, date, location, group or stage, and there’s zero loading time involved. This is essential information in a very well put-together package, so go here and bookmark it NOW!
What time will the games be on?
In South Africa, the group-stage World Cup games are scheduled to begin at one of 1:30pm, 4pm or 8:30pm local time (check the above link to find out what time your team is playing at).
Here in Buenos Aires, those times translates into 8:30am, 11am and 3.30pm. Keep in mind that aside from Argentina games, bars are probably not going to open at 8:30am or even 11am just to show a game, so plan ahead if there are games that you’re going to want to watch at these early times.
Finding pals to watch games with
Obviously, having the maximum possible fun watching the World Cup means watching your team play while surrounded by your countrypeople. No doubt we’ll all be watching the Argentina games as well, but nothing beats a liberal sprinkle of patriotism at a time like this.
If you don’t already have a group of friends from your country, the best place to search for and find your people is unquestionably the forum at www.baexpats.org. There have already been several threads written by people doing just this, so do a search first before you start a new thread.
Unless you have a huge TV and all your mates are coming over for the games, you’ll want to head out for the World Cup games, and that means finding a good sports bar.
For expats, the front-runner in popularity at this stage seems to be Sugar, located at Costa Rica 4619 in Palermo. They say that they’re going to play all the games in English and they have two screens, meaning that they can show two different games at the same time. Pints, wings and burgers round off a pretty damn attractive option for World Cup-watching fun. Just keep in mind that for England and USA games it’s likely to be RAMMED with people, so go early if you go.
Another option is the Gibraltar English pub in San Telmo. They’ve said that they will definitely open for the 11am and 3:30pm games, so it’s a good option if you can’t find anywhere else that will open early. On the other hand, Gibraltar is not ideal as a sports bar, being a bit cramped and without enough seating.
A third option offering a more complete package is Bar Malasartes at Honduras 4999 in Palermo Soho (right on Plaza Serrano). They’re having a ‘World Cup party,’ meaning that they’re going to show the games but with all kinds of add-ons (check out their Facebook page at here for more details). The downsides are that they’re going to charge admission (30 pesos for a ‘day ticket’ – up to three matches) and that you’ll need to reserve a table ahead of time, but it might still be worth it. They plan on showing at least two of the 8am games.
Do a little planning for your World Cup viewing experience now, and ten minutes before kickoff you’ll be settling back with an icy Quilmes in your hand as opposed to running around trying to find a sports bar that’s open.
May the best team (or Argentina, that would be pretty cool too) win!!