The joy of Six

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pub preview: with the Six Nations just around the corner, we look ahead to this year's tournament with some of Britain and Ireland best sport pubs
Pub preview: with the Six Nations just around the corner, we look ahead to this year's tournament with some of Britain and Ireland best sport pubs
It’s the envy of the southern hemisphere in sporting terms – the Six Nations rugby union tournament is here – and should help you sell plenty of beer and food, along with creating a cracking atmosphere

Fixture list – 28 January – 11 February

Tuesday 29 January

Premier League – Newcastle United v Manchester City – BT Sport

Wednesday 30 January

Premier League – Liverpool v Leicester City – BT Sport

Thursday 31 January – Monday 4 February​ 

Windies v England Test Series - West Indies v England – Sky Sports

Thursday 31 January

Betfred Super League – St Helens v Wigan Warriors – Sky Sports

Friday 1 February

EFL Championship – Preston North End v Derby County – Sky Sports

Women’s Six Nations – Ireland v England – Sky Sports

Betfred Super League – Hull K R v Hull FC – Sky Sports

Six Nations – France v Wales – BBC

Saturday 2 February

Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United – Sky Sports

Premier League – Cardiff v Bournemouth – BT Sport

EFL Championship – Leeds United v Norwich City – Sky Sports

Betfred Super League – Warrington Wolves v Leeds Rhinos – Sky Sports

Six Nations – Scotland v Italy – BBC

Six Nations – Ireland v England - ITV

Sunday 3 February

Premier League - Leicester City v Manchester United – Sky Sports

Premier League – Manchester City v Arsenal – Sky Sports

Monday 4 February

Premier League – West Ham United v Liverpool – Sky Sports

Superleague Netball – Manchester Thunder v London Pulse – Sky Sports

Thursday 7 February

Betfred Super League – Hull FC v Castleford Tigers – Sky Sports

Friday 8 February

EFL Championship – Aston Villa v Sheffield United – Sky Sports

Betfred Super League – Wigan Warriors v Leeds Rhinos – Sky Sports

Saturday 9 February – Wednesday 13 February 

Windies v England Test Series - West Indies v England – Sky Sports

Saturday 9 February

Premier League – Fulham v Manchester United – Sky Sports

Premier League – Brighton v Burnley – Sky Sports

Betfred Super League – Catalans Dragons v Huddersfield Giants – Sky Sports

Six Nations – Scotland v Ireland – BBC

Six Nations – Italy v Wales - ITV

Sunday 10 February

EFL Championship – Norwich City v Ipswich Town – Sky Sports

Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City – Sky Sports

Premier League – Manchester City v Chelsea – Sky Sports

Women’s Six Nations – England v France – Sky Sports

Six Nations – England v France - ITV

Monday 11 February

Premier League – Wolverhampton Wanderers v Newcastle United – Sky Sports

Saying you’ve spoken to a Welshman, an Irishman, a Scot and an Englishman may sound like the start of a joke, however, the Six Nations rugby tournament is serious business for pubs. With this year’s tournament offering a vital test before the Rugby World Cup in Japan this autumn, we look ahead to the event with some of Britain and Ireland’s best match-day haunts.

Jerome Ennis, Slattery’s, Dublin, Ireland

Ireland

What di­fference do Six Nations matches make to your pub’s trading?

“As a sports bar, Slattery’s prides itself on delivering the best possible experience for every sporting occasion. Having said that, primarily we’re a rugby pub, and the Six Nations is arguably the best rugby tournament in the world – for many it even overshadows the Rugby World Cup. It makes a huge di­fference to Slattery’s trading. If it’s a home match, given our close proximity to the Aviva stadium, we’ll start welcoming fans from both teams several hours in advance of the game, entertain a large volume of ticketless fans during the game and then, all going well, kick off­ a big celebration immediately after. When Ireland play away, we’ll take bookings throughout the building specifying that guests need to arrive early to guarantee their table. We’re hugely popular on these occasions as everyone wants an atmosphere they can truly savour.”

What do you find yourself selling most of?

“Pints rule the roost on a match day with Guinness and Heineken being the big sellers. Craft beer has come on a lot over the past few years so there’s always a demand for a good IPA. If it’s a cold day, you’d also best be ready to sell quite a few hot whiskeys. We don’t actually serve food ourselves but if it’s an away game, we’re happy to order you a pizza from our friends at ‘Presto’ across the road.”

Best memory?

“Prior to last year, it had to be Ronan O’Gara’s drop goal against Wales in 2009. Now, however, having viewed it repeatedly and still had my heart in my mouth, it has to be ‘Le drop’. Johnny Sexton’s drop goal to beat France in extra time in Ireland’s opening fixture was a thing of rare beauty.”

Stuart Green, the Cabbage Patch, Twickenham, England

England

What difference do Six Nations matches make to your trading?

“We’re very lucky to be the most famous rugby pub in the world and we’re packed on match days. There always seem to be more fans without tickets [during the Six Nations] so we’re busy while the game is on. Many fans go to the game but there’s a large number who’ve clearly come down just to enjoy the atmosphere. The best games are the England v Ireland ones – their fans are as fanatical as any in the world and will flock wherever they’re playing. They’re always up for a good laugh and the rivalry runs so deep – it’s good fun.”

What do you find yourself selling most of?

“We’ve increased our o­ffer. We do condense the range down for ease of service and for quick service because it’s so busy. However, with more children, women and families going to matches, we’ve had to come away from the bog standard one lager, one Guinness, one cider over the years. We’ve increased the spirits range as well as the soft drinks and non-alcoholic ranges that we run on a match day because people are more conscious of what they’re drinking.

Best memory?

“After the Six Nations in a Grand Slam-winning year, all the players secretly came back here after the match. We have a number of private bars that we managed to sneak most of the squad into and we helped celebrate the Grand Slam win with them which was great fun – chatting to the boys and seeing them let their hair down.

Prediction?

“Home advantage is vital. Ireland are England’s biggest threat so playing them away is going to be difficult – the tournament probably hinges on that opening game. That said Wales have grown in strength over the past year and we have to play them away as well. My head says Ireland, my heart says England.”

 

Mark Falzon, the Old Arcade, Cardiff, Wales

Wales

What di­fference do Six Nations matches make to your pub’s trading?

“As probably the most famous rugby pub in Wales, and sited just a few hundred yards from the Principality Stadium, Six Nations days are right up there in the highlights of our trading year. When Wales are at home we are full to the brim from opening to closing and can easily do a week’s trade in just one day. Even when Wales are away, people still like to come together and soak up the atmosphere and cheer on the boys with a pint of Brains.”

How do Six Nations games compare to other sporting events?

“For us Six Nations games are the ultimate – there isn’t an atmosphere that comes close to Cardi­ff city centre on match day – if you haven’t experienced it for yourself you really ought to!”

Prediction?

“Well I know Ireland are very strong this year but we’ve got them at home in the final game so I’m going for another championship win for Wales.”

 

Wendy Dixon, Ryrie’s Bar, Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland

How do Six Nations games compare to other sporting events?

“We’ve got Hearts’ stadium just along the road and I do notice there’s a big difference between the fans. The rugby fans want to make a great day of it and have lots of singing and banter between them all and they seem to get more into it, as in they’ll come dressed in their kilts or daffodil hats – stuff like that. It’s a very different atmosphere. Every Six Nations brings a really good atmosphere – always more so when the Welsh and the Irish are up, they’re just a bit more jovial than the English and like having a good sing song.”

Best memory?

“Last year was good because it was Scotland v England – the atmosphere was electric – and even though England got beaten, there was still good banter between the customers.”

Superbowl LIII

It’s almost time for the showpiece event from across The Pond as the Los Angeles Rams face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII

After a nine-minute blitz by the Philadelphia Eagles saw the New England Patriots miss out in dramatic fashion last year, the perennial favourites for the Vince Lombardi trophy have another shot at glory in 2019.

Should the Patriots win in Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium, which boasts a retractable roof fi t for a Bond villain, they would match the Pittsburgh Steelers’ record for most Superbowl wins, while 41-year-old quarterback Tom Brady would claim a sixth title – an unprecedented record.

Bizarrely, the coach plotting the Pats’ downfall is nine years Brady’s junior. The Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay, the youngest coach in NFL history, leads the Los Angeles Rams to their first Superbowl since the franchise returned to California after 20 years in St Louis.

If this year’s main event can live up to the drama of the playoffs – with both teams needing overtime to claim a Super Bowl berth for the first time in NFL history – and with Man United v Leicester and Man City v Arsenal on earlier in the day, Super Bowl Sunday could yield rich pickings for pubs.

According to 2016 research by MatchPint and CGA, the Super Bowl is worth more than £1,000 on average to pubs showing it – with beer and spirit volumes seeing respective average uplifts of 53% and 47%.

Sky director of marketing Tracy Harrison explains that the “fast-paced and action-packed” nature of the NFL, and the staging of sell-out International Series fixtures in London since 2007, have helped transform America’s flagship sporting event into a pub staple.

“As the biggest sport in America, it’s brought a different dimension to the UK sporting scene, serving up a number of gripping games and nail-biting finishes, meaning it’s no surprise the sport continues to grow in popularity,” says Harrison.

“Last year’s Super Bowl saw the Philadelphia Eagles lift the trophy for the first time, beating hot favourites the New England Patriots. The Patriots were leading 33-32 with nine minutes to go before the Eagles swooped in to claim a 41-33 victory against the fi ve-time Super Bowl winners – incredible!

“The match itself attracted over 460,000 views out of home, that’s an 18% increase compared to the 2017 Super Bowl.

“Looking at the sport as a whole, around one in four out of home viewers said they would spend more time and money, and visit a venue more often, if it regularly showed emerging sports such as the NFL.

“This shows that the NFL presents a clear opportunity to attract new customers and drive sales and dwell-time through live sport.”

Sport box out

Superbowl LIII takes place on Sunday 3 February – Sky Sports USA and Sky Sports Mix from 10pm or Sky Sports Main Event from 11pm

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