Verticast Media Group president and Chief Executive Officer Oliver McIntosh is delighted at how CVM Television's Fan Central experience ended with the FIFA World Cup final yesterday.
Hundreds of patrons gathered at Fan Central at the Girl Guides Association of Jamaica headquarters on Waterloo Road in St Andrew to witness Lionel Messi captain Argentina to glory in a 4-2 penalty shoot-out win against France, after the game ended 3-3 after regulation and extra time.
While numerous spectators turned out to cheer on France, a large crowd was on hand wearing Argentina jerseys, many in Messi's number 10 shirt, and waving Argentina flags.
McIntosh is pleased that the majority of those who turned out got what they wanted in Argentina and Messi claiming the win.
"The two teams that ended up in the final are the two teams that people thought would get there," McIntosh told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. "It's the first time we're [Verticast Media Group] doing the World Cup at CVM as new owners and we could not have asked for anything better. We had two powerhouses, two of the best players in the world on display, they played into extra time, and they played into penalties, you couldn't write this script. So, for us at CVM, at Fan Central, it was an amazing experience being here, seeing the excitement, then people upset then excited again, it was amazing!"
The game, which featured many highs and lows for fans of both Argentina and France, ebbed and flowed as the French, through two goals from Kylian Mbappe, pulled level from two first-half goals by Messi and teammate Angel Di Maria. Then, after Lionel Messi scored what many thought would've been the winner in extra time, Mbappe equalised once more from the spot to take the game to a penalty shoot-out after a 3-3 stalemate in extra time.
But, although Messi and Mbappe scored their kicks in the shoot-out, misses from Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni gave Argentina the advantage and Gonzalo Montiel stepped up to put away his kick to give them their first World Cup title since 1986.
While many patrons are die-hard football fans, many casual fans were also in attendance for the atmosphere. McIntosh says this allows for the growth of a sports bar culture in Jamaica as the public just wants to be entertained, even if they do not follow or know much about sports.
"People like to go out and enjoy sports together," he said. "They like to enjoy entertainment events together. I think events like this will help to develop that culture. Part of our mantra at CVM is going to be for major events, not only sporting events, but major events, like this that we bring the pictures and the entertainment, and you just bring the vibe."
McIntosh says that CVM partnered with about 14 sports bars across the island to ensure no fan felt excluded from the experience throughout the World Cup. He is now planning a similar Fan Central atmosphere in other locations across the island for future events. The next high-profile sporting event on CVM's itinerary is the National Football League (NFL's) Super Bowl, which takes place on Sunday, February 12.
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