Making the Most of Sport - in association with Sky
Make the most of sports entertainment in May
By Mike Berry
- Last updated on
This Making the Most of Sport feature is sponsored by Sky
May is a month that promises to be full of memorable sporting moments, which, when coupled with bank holidays, warm weather and long evenings, is great news for pubs.
Licensees can draw in the crowds thanks to a bumper schedule of action across a number of sports, including Barclays Premier League football, Sky Bet Championship and Football League play-off finals, the Scottish Cup Final, Formula 1, T20 Blast cricket, Premier League Darts, and Super League rugby.
The Barclays Premier League run-in will see the title decided, top four spots claimed and relegation battles won and lost. These memorable moments will see football fans packing pubs up and down the country, with research showing that more than 4.6m people watch football in a pub or bar every month.
As the battle for the title and European places reaches its climax, Sky Sports will be showing Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United live every weekend in the lead up to the final weekend. On the last day, Sky Sports will feature three live matches at the same time, which is perfect for licensees who have multiple viewing cards through Sky’s Go Further range (see below), which they can use to ‘zone’ their pub and show all three matches at the same time.
May TV highlights
Premier League Darts: Play-offs 21 May
Football League: Play-off finals 23-25 May
Premier League: Final weekend 23-25 May
Pro12 Rugby: Final 30 May
Super League: Magic Weekend 30-31 May
The spring bank holiday weekend also sees all three play-off finals from the Championship, League 1, and League 2 take place across three days — and they are matches that can help keep pubs busy. The Championship play-off final between Derby County and QPR on 24 May 2014 drew in 935,000 people to out-of-home venues to watch the action, and with the Championship having one of the closest promotion battles in Europe this season, football fans will be keenly watching as the two finalists go head-to-head for the ultimate prize — a place in the Premier League.
Plus, pubs can look forward to football’s shortest summer break in years — three weeks fewer than last year. From the final Barclays Premier League matches on 24 May, it’s only 11 weeks until the action returns on 8 August. But in truth, the season never ends on Sky Sports because while football takes a break, there is live action from other sports.
The Formula 1 season is now well underway, and Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg’s rivalry has predictably sparked into life again while four-time champion Sebastian Vettel’s resurgence has also added some spice. The two Sunday afternoon races showing live in May come from Spain and the iconic Monaco street circuit and make for perfect viewing for pubs.
With F1 the third most-watched sport out of home, it’s a great opportunity for licensees to increase how long people stay and how much they spend on a Sunday — particularly if your pub sells food. Think about tailored offers to tie in with the race location, for example, offer discounts on Spanish beers to tie in with the Spanish Grand Prix.
This year is Sky’s biggest ever year for cricket and with 1.1m people watching cricket in a pub or bar every month, May offers plenty of big-hitting action to attract people to your venue. Coverage of the Natwest T20 Blast season Starts on Friday 15 May, when champions Birmingham Bears face Nottingham Outlaws. A host of top talent from the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup will be playing domestic cricket this season, including several players who were selected in the team of the tournament.
Pubgoers will see world stars like Brendon McCullum (Birmingham Bears) and Glenn Maxwell (Yorkshire Vikings) alongside big hitters like Chris Gayle (Somerset), Kumar Sangakkara (Surrey) and Shahid Afridi (Northamptonshire Steelbacks). Licensees can take advantage of this summer’s busy cricket schedule by rewarding customers with a free pint or bar snacks if they come back for every match — it’s a great way to build customer loyalty and is the perfect sport to enjoy in the summer sunshine.
A traditional pub sport, the popularity and spectacle of live darts continues to grow. One of the biggest nights of the darts calendar takes place on 21 May at London’s O2 Arena as the top four players in the Premier League face each other in the play-offs in an effort to become Premier League champion. The competition helps drive Thursday evening footfall to pubs and this showcase event is sure to be a hit with customers.
Create a buzz by organising fancy dress competitions, prize draws, or even set up your own darts games to recreate the party atmosphere at the O2.
The action doesn’t stop there either, with the Magic Weekend from St James’ Park in Newcastle rounding off a bumper month of action. It’s the highlight of the Super League rugby season as all 12 teams converge in one stadium, providing six mouth-watering clashes.
Sky Sports pundit Phil Clarke highlights its popularity, saying: “The Magic Weekend is the first date on the calendar Super League fans circle at the start of the season.” For pubs, it provides a chance to take advantage of the buzz to keep customers coming through the doors for a back-to-back weekend of live sporting action.
One to watch
Boxing: Kell Brook v Frankie Gavin After impressively defeating Jo Jo Dan in Sheffield in March, Kell Brook makes a quick return to the ring on Saturday 30 May, to defend his IBF Welterweight boxing title against Frankie Gavin at The O2 in London, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Brook v Gavin headlines a huge night of boxing that includes three world title fights — popular Londoner Kevin Mitchell will meet WBC Lightweight champion Jorge Linares and Welsh stylist Lee Selby challenges Evgeny Gradovich for his IBF Featherweight title. Rising Heavyweight star Anthony Joshua has his toughest encounter yet facing former World Heavyweight title challenger Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson. ■ Sky Business customers who wish to purchase the fight on Sky Sports Box Office should call 08448 244 244.
Go Further: Additional Viewing Cards
As part of a Sky subscription, Sky’s Go Further range provides businesses with products and services that help landlords make the most of sport and enhance their customers’ experience. With so much great sport on throughout May, landlords can draw in different sports fans with additional viewing cards.
Pub customers with a 12-month Sky agreement can get up to two free viewing cards to screen multiple sports in different parts of a venue at the same time. Plus, if they take the Racing Pack, they get a free third card. Additional viewing cards give pub customers even more choice and, therefore, a better experience.