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Soccer Fans Savor World Cup On Big Screen At Rutland's Paramount

Nina Keck
Brazil's World Cup team fills the huge high definition screen at Rutland's Paramount Theatre Tuesday. About 100 fans watched Germany rout Brazil 7-1 in a stunning semi-final.

While many soccer fans have been shouting at their televisions from the comfort of their living rooms, hundreds of World Cup enthusiasts have been watching recent matches in high definition on a 30-by-24 foot screen at Rutland’s Paramount Theatre.

Bruce Bouchard, director of the Paramount, said they installed their high definition projection equipment last year initially to show the Metropolitan Opera. 

But Bouchard said the minute he saw how crisp the picture was, he knew he had to broadcast sporting events as well. He said the World Cup has been a huge hit. “It’s been ridiculous. We didn’t know who would come, but we’ve had about 1,800 people through the doors for seven matches.”

He said a crowd of more than 400 came to watch the U.S. take on Belgium last week.

"It's been ridiculous. We didn't know who would come, but we've had about 1,800 people through the doors for seven matches." - Bruce Bouchard, Paramount Theatre director

With the Americans now out of the competition, Bouchard said he wasn’t sure how many people would show up to watch this week's semi final matches. He said he was pleased to see about 100 fans show up yesterday to watch Germany trounce Brazil.

Gerhard Sihler of Mendon was among them.“It’s a different atmosphere when you are among people who share the same enthusiasm. That makes it just much more enjoyable to watch,” he said.  

His son Gunther Sihler, of Killington, agreed. He's watched several World Cup games at the Paramount and said the energy and shared emotion just bounces off everyone in the room.

The theater doesn’t charge anything to watch the games but Bruce Bouchard said refreshment sales and good will donations have helped the Paramount make money on days it might otherwise be empty. 

He said they’ll broadcast today’s semi-final match between the Netherlands and Argentina live at 4 p.m. "It’ll be the last World Cup match we show this year," said Bouchard. He said the theater had already been booked for a musical the day of the final.

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