Niche sports can create 'something magical' in pubs

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pretty magical: Niche sports can help business
Pretty magical: Niche sports can help business

Related tags: Sport

If pubs get behind niche sports such as handball, wrestling, netball and NBA basketball, it can “really add to their business”, according to leading managers in the trade.

As part of The Morning Advertiser​’s Maximising Sport in Pubs event, guests discussed how pubs can increase their opportunities by tapping into the growing interest in more niche sports.

Magnify Marketing founder Paul Filler said by getting like-minded people together to watch niche sports it can “create something pretty magical”.

“It’s unbelievable the impact niche sports can have,” he said. “You do have to nurture them and build them out, however.

“When we started showing wrestling, it attracted huge numbers. It’s on a perfect time on a Sunday evening, people dress up for it, they come out for it, some even stay in hotels.”

Filler added that if pubs really get behind niche sports, they “will add to your business”.

Show as much as you can

Beds & Bars UK operations director Richard Bradford said it is “impossible to tell” what might work – pubs just need go for it.

“This is a lot about decision making. What does and doesn’t work is a tough question,” he said.

“Just show as much as you possibly can and tell people it’s on.

“We had a huge night with handball a few nights ago. If you offer a great thing all the time, people will come along.”

The Maple Leaf pub general manager Zach Larochelle added that pubs should aim to “create an experience and a platform” with their niche sports, which well get sports fans “committed to coming back”.

Women’s sport on the rise

Filler said he believed women’s sport is a “massive opportunity” for pubs and that it just needs more marketing.

“I’m a massive netball fan, it’s played by millions of women in the UK every week,” he said.

“Netball in Australia is the biggest sport. I think showing more women’s sports is where pubs will evolve and change.

“Ten years ago, if you asked a pub if it sold coffee and pizza in pubs, it would have said no.”

Related topics: Sport

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