City backs downtown ABQ World Cup watch party

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — If you’ve been watching the World Cup, you’ve probably seen all the live shots from cities around the U.S. where fans have packed parks for watch parties.

Now the City of Albuquerque is getting into the act throwing a World Cup party for the U.S.’s “do or die” match Tuesday.

Bars in Albuquerque have been packed for the U.S.’s first three games. But for the next match against Belgium, an iconic downtown theatre could also get raucous.

“We’re going to try to have a great family event, cheer on the U.S. National Team,” said Mayor R.J. Berry of the city of Albuquerque.

The mayor said he wants to see the city pack the 650 seats at the KiMo Theatre for the Belgium match. It will open at 1 p.m. Tuesday, an hour before the game starts.

“Well, we just had a couple people ask us, they say well hey, let’s have a watch party some place where we can go, you know, where there’s an alcohol free environment. Let’s just go. It doesn’t have to be in a bar,” said Mayor Berry.

It’s the first time it’s been done, so the city isn’t quite sure how many people will show up.

Some people think there’s a lot of potential though, from their own experiences.

“I expect us to be absolutely packed,” said Jonathan Ruby, manager at Two Fools Tavern.

Ruby said the bar on Central in Nob Hill has been a hot spot for fans with growing interest in soccer.

“I think it’s exciting, you know, if we can grow and start being interested in other cool things. It’s such a worldwide sport,” said Ruby.

Fans KRQE News 13 spoke with Monday said they appreciate the city’s investment with the first World Cup viewing party.

“It’s pretty cool the city is getting in on there,” said Thomas Archdeacon of Albuquerque.

The interest has even sparked some national news outlets to write stories about people skipping work to watch the game. However, maybe not in Albuquerque just yet.

“I’m jealous that, that the city is getting involved and I can’t watch it,” said Andrew Dean of Albuquerque.

“Of course I’d love to be there, but I have to work tomorrow. I can’t get out of it and I think it’s a great thing. I think the city should get more involved. I think the state should get more involved, and I’d love to actually see an MLS team in Albuquerque,” said Dean.

The watch party at the KiMo Theatre will be free with seats on a first-come first-served basis. The city says concession stands will be open as well, but guests will have to pay for the snacks.

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