Silicon Valley's latest perk: World Cup viewing parties at work
By Noel Randewich and Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO, June 13 (Reuters) - Theme lunches, giant TVs and viewing parties. Silicon Valley may be far from the World Cup in Brazil but tech employees are getting in on the globe's most prestigious soccer event.
Twitter, LinkedIn and Nvidia are among several tech companies airing matches in their offices during the next month and encouraging employees to follow the action.
The World Cup has made inroads in the United States, although employees at many companies must be circumspect about getting their fix. But some tech companies, famous for giving their engineers everything from gourmet food to on-site hairdressers, World Cup fever's penetration is reminiscent of Latin America or Europe, where the tournament captivates the public.
Redwood City's Evernote, which makes note-taking software, dished up traditional Brazilian Feijoada meat stew and bolo de fuba cornmeal cake for lunch while Thursday's opening match between Brazil and Croatia played on projector TVs.
As the tournament progresses, with up to three games per day in the coming weeks, Evernote, as well as Twitter, Facebook Inc and Zynga Inc will have games playing in conference rooms and other locations.
"There are no real rules, you can watch as much of the game as you want," said Linda Kozlowski, Evernote's vice president of worldwide operations. She expects many employees to bring laptops along and work while cheering their favorite team.
Most of this year's matches are scheduled during office hours in California, making for potential disruptions at companies known for demanding work schedules.
Electronic Arts Inc, which makes the 2014 World Cup Brazil videogame, is hosting "viewing parties" at its offices, including in a big-screen theater at its Redwood City headquarters. Its Vancouver, Canada office has daily contests for employees to win official World Cup soccer balls. Continuación...