Euro 2024 mania kicks off


Having a ball: Workers putting the final touches to their Euro 2024-themed backdrop at a hotel in Tanjung Bungah, Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Just hours remain till the 2024 UEFA European Football Championship kicks off, and football fever is palpable around town.

Many business premises – particularly bars, hotels and shopping centres – are capitalising on the match schedule to run viewing parties or thematic promotions.

Though the opening game between hosts Germany and Scotland starts at 3am tomorrow, 19 out of the remaining 35 matches in the initial group stage kick off at either 9pm or midnight Malaysian time.

At a shopping mall in Bukit Jambul, workers set up a 2.5m by 1.8m projector screen and laid out tables at their open-air plaza yesterday.

There will be many food kiosks and trucks selling various snacks and drinks, so football fans can have a good time once the first 9pm match starts tomorrow.

“We’ll start the viewing parties around 7pm each evening with match replays or highlights. If there’s a crowd, we’ll keep the projectors on till the midnight matches end.

“Where games start at either midnight or 3am, we’ll monitor demand and screen accordingly,” said the mall’s general manager, Crystal Wong.

A hotel in Tanjung Bungah is stoking the football fever with bundled complementary viewing of the quadrennial tournament – better known as Euro 2024 – with their in-room entertainment.

“Some might not want to venture out so late at night, so they can still catch every game from the comforts of their rooms,” said the hotel’s general manager Suffian Phoong.

The hotel has also set up a special backdrop with Euro 2024 imagery for fans to take photos with, as well as a special menu of snacks and drinks.

“Such tournaments only come around once every few years. We want to create a lively ambience so guests can soak up every exciting moment of the event with us,” Phoong added.

Over at a hotel bar along Gurney Drive, the atmosphere promises to be just as exciting, with flags of all participating countries already strung up.

“We added more TV screens after our recent renovations. We normally close around midnight, but for Euro 2024, we’ll extend our hours till the midnight matches finish,” said the hotel’s communications director Christina Tan.

Euro 2024 will be the tournament’s 17th edition, with 24 nations vying to lift the coveted Henri Delaunay Trophy – which is 60cm tall, weighs 8kg and is made of sterling silver.

The group stage runs until June 27, after which the Round of 16 takes place from June 29 to July 2. The quarterfinals and semifinals are from July 5 to 10.

The Olympiastadion in Berlin will host the final on July 14.

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