Pubs, supermarkets and takeaways are gearing up for the biggest sporting weekend since the start of the pandemic with England facing Ukraine in the quarter finals of the Euros and British players still in the Wimbledon singles draws.
More than 20 million Three Lions fans are expected to be glued to TV screens either at home or in pubs on Saturday evening when Gareth Southgate’s men bid for a place in the last four in Rome.
Meanwhile Andy Murray’s five-set win at SW19on Wednesday night has raised hopes of British interest into the second week of the tournament. The other homegrown survivors are Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie in the men’s draw, and Emma Raducanu in the women’s event.
Other elite sporting action this weekend include a British Lions rugby warm-up game in Johannesburg on Saturday, a one-day cricket international between England and Sri Lanka in Bristol and the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday, plus the eight and ninth stages of the Tour de France.
London is forecast to see sunshine and showers over the weekend.
Dom Collingwood, co-founder of the MatchPint app, which is used by fans to find pubs showing football games, said there had been more searches for the Ukraine game than there were in total for England’s World Cup quarter final against Sweden in 2018.
He said: “By the time the game starts on Saturday we expect more than 500,000 people will have searched for a pub in which they can secure a last-minute booking.”
Patrick Dardis, chief executive of pub group Young’s, said Saturday’s match “should be a cracker” for pint sales and called on Boris Johnson to ease Covid social distancing restrictions for the England remaining matches.
He said: “Perhaps the PM will allow the country to celebrate our potential biggest football success since 1966 by relaxing the rules for the next three games.”
Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame, said: “When England play well and get through to the knockout stages, it definitely becomes a national event and I would expect trade to be strong as a result.”
But another pub boss, Greene King’s Nick Mackenzie, said: “Capacity restraints mean we have still lost out on £1 million every England game in the group stages and if England make it to the final, we’re looking at a potential loss of £10 million from the tournament.”
Pizza delivery firm Domino’s said orders surged 47 per cent above those seen on the average Tuesday as England beat Germany, and it expects a similar uplift on Saturday.
A spokesman for supermarket chain Asda said: “We’re predicting to sell 850,000 pizzas this weekend and 3.7 million packs of beer as shoppers celebrate sporting events and the return of the sunshine in many parts of the country.” Tesco expects the “Wimbledon effect” to boost strawberry sales by 17 per cent and champagne by 80 per cent.