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Should bars charge extra to view the World Cup?

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / June 18, 2014

world cup torontoCafe Diplomatico, at the heart of Little Italy, is ground zero for Italian soccer fans during World Cup season, boasting one of the best patios for taking in FIFA action. Of course, that also made it a prime destination during the Taste Of Little Italy street festival, which added up to one mighty clogged cafe during Saturday's game against England.

The Dip came up with a controversial solution: while the match was on, patrons were required to buy $15 in food or drinks, per person, per hour (that's not counting tax). Those who already ordered before the game started were cashed out and expected to order another round.

The CBC originally reported that the move would be ongoing for all Italy games, but owner Rocco Mastrangelo said Wednesday the rule was restricted to the Taste of Little Italy weekend. "On Friday (when Italy plays Costa Rica), people are going to be here at 8 am. That I don't mind," he said. "But during the Taste of Little Italy, when you have a half a million people on the street - mostly tourists - I wanted to give them an opportunity to sit down and enjoy the restaurant."

While it seems like a one-off move for the Dip, it remains to be seen whether or not other bars and restaurants will follow suit. Those bright-and-early table-squatters are fixtures around town during the World Cup, and they're not always buying. But as we've seen with Uber's surge pricing fiascos, what's good for the cash register often makes for lousy publicity.

Photo via Jesse Milns from Betty's which doesn't charge extra



Melissa / June 18, 2014 at 01:15 pm
Real Sports has been pulling this douche move for years, I'm surprised no one has reported on that!! Cafe Diplomatic is a small family run amazing place, who cares. Real Sports is owned by MLSE and still continues to gouge people like the jerks they are. Do you know if you want reservations during a UFC match they charge you? AND if you want reservations during hte match and want to sit closer to the big tv, they charge you even more!! It's so sick, significantly worse than what CD is doing during World Cup.
DL replying to a comment from Melissa / June 18, 2014 at 01:23 pm
It's a free country, nobody is forcing you to go watch events at RS.
AV replying to a comment from Melissa / June 18, 2014 at 01:23 pm
So then don't go. No one forces you to go out and buy into these terrible, business killing ideas. Stay home, pretty simple no?
pbj / June 18, 2014 at 01:24 pm
I don't blame them.. you can't run a business if the place is full for 3-6 hours and the patrons each buy 1 or 2 drinks.

15$/hour might be a little steep though.
S / June 18, 2014 at 01:31 pm
I think it's more than fair. $15 within an hour is a couple of's an amazing spot to watch the game and I'm sure they have to pay quite a bit to 1) block off the street 2) rent more TV's/chairs/tables and a tent. It was still set up like this yesterday. I'm going!
mike in parkdale / June 18, 2014 at 01:42 pm
simple answer: no.

If an event is only on Pay-per-View like a big boxing match or some UFC event, then the bar has a big upfront cost to cover. I support charging a cover to help cover those costs. The world cup is being aired for free, so it's really not fair for bars to charge.

If a bar is renting tents and chairs to expand their capacity, then the added patrons should cover the costs simply by being there.

having said that - you shouldn't be ordering a water and a plate of fries and expecting a good seat for 90 minutes.
Dimpy / June 18, 2014 at 01:52 pm
Cafe diplomatico amazing? I hardly find so. I've lived in the area and have been going there for over 15 years and it may be a good place to sit outside and watch the people go by but the food is mediocre at best and I've had some really questionable service there.
So maybe they're right to charge to watch the game because I'm definitely not going there for the dining experience.
Racco / June 18, 2014 at 01:59 pm
Fuck the "dip"! Their food is terrible, id rather eat Purina Cat Chow. The only thing they got going for them is their patio and that is it. This is just another reason to gouge.
Bay St. Guy replying to a comment from Melissa / June 18, 2014 at 02:00 pm
Well, I think your problem is you're watching UFC events....

I would charge that crowd through the nose. Dollar cover charge for every lightning bolt on their shirt.
ryan / June 18, 2014 at 02:01 pm
They should be allowed though that is a steep price. Up to them of course, but that means during a 2hr game I would need to consume about 1 meal and 3 pints (which is fine over an evening maybe but a pretty hefty late lunch).
Hersh / June 18, 2014 at 02:33 pm
Their restaurant, their rules, their publicity. Your money, your choice. Markets adjust.
mike in parkdale / June 18, 2014 at 04:11 pm
waive the fee if they can name 4 players on the team /troll
Spike / June 18, 2014 at 04:13 pm
Shouldn't most of these fans be watching the World Cup at home, in their own basements, and on the weekends?
Pedro the Donkey replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / June 18, 2014 at 06:00 pm
yeh - that's really gonna work, with their smart phones in hand on arrival no one is gonna find that a stretch. Charge the table huggers a $15 fee if they don't buy food and drink in the time it takes for a game to play out. Donkey sense all round.
Pedro the Donkey replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / June 18, 2014 at 06:03 pm
my prev comment was in response to waiving the fee and naming 4 players..
W. K. Lis / June 18, 2014 at 09:18 pm
Charging extra to view the Quidditch World Cup is just a plot by Lord Voldemort.

Please, someone made me say that...
Josh / June 18, 2014 at 10:17 pm
I work in the industry and soccer fans don't drink that much. They sip there 1 beer or pop for 2 hours. So this way by making sure some one is spending a minimum on food and purchase its fare for the business. This is the time they can make money after an awful winter.
Gordon / June 18, 2014 at 10:21 pm
I have been watching all the games at The Office Pub. Last Monday for USA game they Amir Johnson and few of the TFC players watching the game. Totally will recommend that place. Lots of Tv's also Tvs on there 3 patios as well. $6 Carlsberg Pints for the world cup games. Best Beer Special
Robert Gerrard / June 19, 2014 at 08:53 am
The Monarch Tavern offers discounts on drinks! And a better atmosphere! 👍👍👍
Seymour / June 19, 2014 at 11:16 am
Who goes to this place? The food is absolutely terrible, the service is even worse and the bathrooms are disgusting. Save your money go somewhere else to watch a bunch of grown men cry and roll around on the ground.
Hagrid replying to a comment from Seymour / June 19, 2014 at 12:47 pm
Sounds like the perfect place to watch the England game today, will remind them of back 'ome no doubt.
Hamish Macbeth / June 19, 2014 at 02:17 pm
Perfectly acceptable to be charging $15 for a sitting at a game on a patio or inside. People want everything free, these restaurants / bars are struggling to survive and their staff are run ragged. If you want to see a great sports game surrounded by a crowd with great atmosphere - dig into those pockets and keep the Ma & Pa business' alive in this city. Now as for me - I'll be heading to my basement with my buddies to see Uruguay kick some Eng roonies.
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