FOR Pascal Plamondon, the Canadian owner of Score sports bar and grill, the biggest challenge to date has not involved defusing a potential Vancouver riot after a contentious match – it was sourcing a game of Canadian curling to screen for a captivated patron.
“That was the weirdest request I’ve had,” he reminisced. “I think that person was just trying to mess with me.”
Having opened in mid-January, Score is a relative newcomer in Phnom Penh. But the gargantuan TV screen – which Plamondon describes lovingly as a “five metre by five metre monster” – the imported pool tables, and the extensive floor space have seen the sports bar grow in popularity.
“It’s growing now, and it’s known as a real sports bar, thank God,” said Plamondon. “Because we worked hard to get the feel right.”
Setting the tone involved recruiting a troupe of French tourists to graffiti the walls, dressing the waiting staff in tailored referee outfits, and starting a betting system.
“It’s more than just showing the sports. It’s also interaction with the game, having some betting pools. You need to know all the teams and the players in every league.”
The sports that draw the largest crowds are football and rugby. But Plamondon said that playing any sport involving Australians will also guarantee a good turnout, or at the very least a loud one.
“Australians by far are the rowdiest fans,” he said.
“I remember once it was Australia playing against India in cricket. You had the Australians cheering for Australia and then a bunch of English people cheering for India just to piss them off.”