Chitungwiza — Beer outlets in most high-density suburbs in and around Harare are cashing in on the Euro 2012 games which kicked off recently. Most nightclubs are charging entrance fees to soccer-loving patrons who flock to the drinking spots where generators are usually on stand-by in case of a blackout.
As the time for the games approach, patrons are usually seen queuing outside the outlets while the club officials collect entrance fees.
A snap survey by The Standard last week established that most nightclubs were charging an equivalent of four pints, which is usually US$3-US$4 to watch the matches.
A waitress at a nightclub at Chikwanha shopping centre in Chitungwiza confirmed that they make huge profits through charging patrons to watch the Euro matches.
She said making them pay an entrance fee was also a way of screening "so that the place is not crowded with people who would just sit and go out after the match without even buying a drink".
"For us, big soccer matches are an opportunity to make money, especially when there is no electricity in the suburbs," she said. "At times we record sales double what we usually get so it is only logical for us to introduce this payment system."
The situation is the same in Harare's high-density suburbs such as Kambuzuma, Highfield, Glen View, Epworth and Budiriro.
Even established nightclubs in Harare's central business district also order patrons to pay to watch the matches.
A barman who identified himself as Brian said, "As a businessman, the only thing you can do with this huge crowd is to make money out of it. That is business my friend."
However, patrons who spoke to The Standard said the system was unfair and revealed the capitalist nature of the beer outlets operators.
"Imagine we always come here for drinks and we are not charged anything. But today because it's game time, they are saying we have to fork out US$3 to be allowed entry," complained Freddy Moyo, who patronises a beer outlet at Zengeza 2 Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza. "I was going to pay anywhere for the drinks but it becomes unfair when someone compels me to pay at the gate."
Ladies of the night also see the huge crowds as an opportunity to make money.