Football is, of course, a massive attraction for pubgoers. In September 2016, almost 1.2m people watched the Manchester derby on Sky Sports outside of the home. The Premier League is in the midst of one of its most fascinating seasons and with its ability to draw such huge numbers of viewers into pubs and bars, it will continue to bring in customers as the season approaches its climax in May.
International football will also feature in 2017, with the conclusion of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in November. Global competitions create a passion in fans unlike any other and provide a fantastic opportunity for pubs to pack their premises as fans look to eat, drink and soak up the atmosphere with like-minded people.
More than football
But it’s not just football that gets punters through the doors. In 2016, a whole host of sports encouraged fans down to their local. For instance:
- Rugby union – almost half a million viewers watched the autumn international between England and South Africa out of home in 2016
- Darts – 415,000 people watched the 2016 World Grand Prix darts final in an out-of-home venue
- F1 – the Monaco Grand Prix attracted 670,000 people into pubs in May 2016
- Golf – the first two days of The Open Championship, broadcast for the first time on Sky Sports, attracted more than half a million viewers out of home each day.
The NFL 'experience'
So how can pubs maximise the opportunity that sport can give them to generate new revenues? Creating an ‘experience’ is often critical to this. For events like the Super Bowl, pubs can tailor their offerings to NFL fans to get them into their venues and spending more.
Beds & Bars sales, marketing and promotional manager Sophie Herbert comments on how the pubco has approached the event in its chain of Belushi’s bars: “Super Bowl is one of our biggest events of the year. Last year, we sold tickets to the games, including a number of packages like the Touch Down and the VIP Ringside. We sold out across all our venues in Europe – with 36% of sales coming from pre-paid revenue.”
The Lions' share of trade
There will also be some fantastic opportunities for licensees in the summer, with the 2017 British & Irish Lions rugby union tour to New Zealand. During the last Lions tour in 2013, the first test match attracted almost 900,000 out-of-home viewers.
With the matches due to be shown during UK breakfast time, operators will be able to get creative around offers to attract morning trade, expanding on the traditional peak times for business.
Live sport can bring massive value to a pub and with more than 2.1m adults watching live sport on TV out of home at least once a week, the opportunity is clear. The sporting year ahead is a great prospect for licensees, and now – more than ever – they can use the wide variety of sports available to attract a much broader customer base. With fans staying in a venue for longer when watching live sport, spending more on food and drink, and preferring the great atmosphere of watching sport in their local, 2017 should prove to be a great sporting success for pubs and bars.
- There will be more exclusive insight on how licensees can capitalise on rugby union and American football in 2017 in the 16 January print edition of The Morning Advertiser