Poll: FIFA World Cup scores big for New York City restaurants and bars

Membership in the NYC Hospitality Alliance has long been committed to working with the City of New York to improve quality of life. Again, there is a problem that we need to understand and work around. The debate will go on forever as to whether the Argentina/France match in the 2022 World Cup Final last month will be known as the greatest match in football or soccer history (depending on which part of the world it may come from!)

What is not up for debate is that not only did Argentina and Lionel Messi take over the 2022 World Cup, But the real winners in New York City were the local restaurants and bars. After the end, the New York City Hospitality Alliance conducted a survey that found many restaurants and bars across the city embraced the global event, contributing to increased sales and in-person action after a rocky start to the city’s recovery from the pandemic.

According to a survey of owners and operators of more than 130 restaurants and bars in the five boroughs, the vast majority of respondents viewed the 2022 FIFA World Cup positively, which is evidenced by the events and games of the USA national team. The analysis directly shows that during the US Men’s National Team’s Round of 16 loss against the Netherlands, 55% of the companies surveyed experienced a slight increase in sales compared to matches outside the US, showing the continued growth and excitement of the game in the US.

After years of sacrifice and tough times, the FIFA World Cup has been a much-needed jolt of energy to the city’s restaurants and bars. Our industry has responded by embracing this global phenomenon by opening its doors to people from all backgrounds and walks of life to cheer on their favorite teams and celebrate the action. It was beautiful and exciting to watch.

Employing an industry-wide gained understanding of the diversity of backgrounds and fabrics that make up New York City, many restaurants and bars have been transformed into country-specific “fan spots,” encompassing the neighborhoods and communities in which they are located. Almost 75% of respondents saw an increase in revenue while featured matches were shown live, compared to a ‘non-typical World Cup’ day – a welcome change of pace for bars and restaurants.

Looking ahead to 2026, more than 90% of businesses surveyed expect a “positive impact” on their operations when North America hosts the FIFA World Cup, with matches expected to be played throughout the New York metro area. In addition, more than 50% of restaurants and bars surveyed that did not show the 2022 World Cup said they expected to do so in 2026.

Football brings a completely different feeling. Watching sports with a group of other people in a restaurant or bar, even if you’re not at the stadium creates a truly unique experience. Many of our members have found the FIFA World Cup attractive to fans who may have been new to football but wanted to come and take part in the experience.

New York is looking forward to hosting the event again in 2026 after an absence of more than 20 years. The 1994 World Cup was played at nine locations across the country including the former Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands. We look forward to building on this success for the New Yorkers as the world game comes to us in 2026!