MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of the largest sporting events in the world kicked off Thursday.
Russia hosts the World Cup, but if a trip to Moscow isn’t in your travel plans, there’s a place in Minneapolis where soccer fever is alive and well — and usually served with a cold beer.
Those who live and work in downtown Minneapolis owe a bit of thanks to Brit’s Pub on the Nicollet Mall. When they opened in 1990, they brought with them that British sense of politeness and decorum that many Yanks were sorely lacking.
But every four years, the FIFA World Cup takes the world stage for four weeks. So big, it’s size and scope leaves even the “superest” of American sports metaphors in the penalty box.
“We’ve been showing games for nearly 20 years, and the World Cup is the biggest thing in the world for soccer, and it’s just huge for us, it really is,” said general manager Shane Higgins.
And huge for the planet, with almost ten times the viewing audience of that “big game” here in the states.
“It’s a melting pot, really,” Higgins said.
He still marvels at how this event brings people together, no matter where they’re from.
“We have people from every continent, people mixing with all these nationalities, particularly South American countries. Columbia, Peru, Argentina,” Higgins said.
Different nationalities and different backgrounds united together because of a common interest. And even if Americans don’t have a horse in the race, there are 30 two other teams that could use a lot of support, like Iceland or Panama. Both in the cup for the very first time this year.
Higgins is practical about the prospects for his home team from England.
“Maybe eighth,” he said. “We’ll be happy to make it to the quarterfinals.”
But win or lose, it seems like the team at Brit’s Pub understands fully that this is about more than just soccer.
“There will be people from four different continents, and we have some fantastic fans that come down and we really appreciate their efforts,” Higgins said.
Brit’s will be showing every game until the finals on July 15, but due to time zone issues, some of the games may be pre-recorded.