Champions League offers pubs pool of 6m-plus customers

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Create a buzz: four English football teams are in the Champions League quarter-finals
Create a buzz: four English football teams are in the Champions League quarter-finals
The anxious wait for football fans is over now we know the fixtures for the Champions League quarter-finals – and the potential match-ups for the semi-finals as well.

It's an all-English affair in the Champions League quarter-finals as Tottenham take on Premier League leaders Manchester City; while Manchester United face the arduous task of beating Barcelona to progress; and Liverpool, arguably, have the easiest match-up when they face Porto.

Meanwhile, the only game to not feature an English team is an interesting tie between Ajax and Juventus.

Football governing body UEFA has also announced the semi-final line-ups would be either Spurs or Man City v Ajax or Juventus; and Barcelona or Man United v Liverpool or Porto.

A lacking decade

The last time English Premier League teams represented 50% of the quarter finalists in the Champions League was a decade ago.

In 2009, it seemed par for the course because Manchester United had beaten Chelsea in the previous year’s final on penalties, and subsequent success was nailed on, right?

Well, not really. Since then, Premier League teams have not fared as well – with Chelsea notching the only English victory in that time – so to get four through to the final eight is an opportunity not to be missed by pubs.

Flocking to the local

BT Sport’s Bruce Cuthbert said: “Following thrilling comebacks in the last round, and some huge clashes in the quarter-finals, we would expect many fans to be flocking to their local pub to watch the action exclusively live on BT Sport. The UEFA Champions League is one of the biggest competitions in the football calendar.

“It’s an exciting time for English football, demonstrating that the Premier League teams are back at the top table among Europe’s elite clubs. Liverpool came within touching distance of the trophy last year and will have their eye on another run following a favourable draw against FC Porto.

“While the all-English tie between Spurs and Manchester City means there’s a Premier League side guaranteed in the semi-final. And after Manchester United’s comeback against Paris Saint-Germain, their Barcelona tie will be a big occasion.

“There will be huge excitement around the all-Premier League match-up between Spurs and Manchester City, but arguably the tie of the round is the stuff of dreams for football fans as Manchester United and Barcelona meet.

“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer returns to the scene of his iconic UEFA Champions League-winning goal, that sealed a famous treble for the Red Devils, and his side will be full of confidence after seeing off Paris Saint-Germain in dramatic fashion last time out.

“The UEFA Champions League is a great competition for driving customers into venues because it gives neutral fans the chance to get caught up in the excitement of a European football night midweek.

“Make sure your customers know you are going to be showing the games and when they are by signing up for your free BT Sport point of sale and downloading your social media assets now at​.”

Big opportunity

The teams that have progressed represent London and the north-west but each has many more fans throughout the UK – and worldwide – which means licensees have a great opportunity to get football fans in and create a real buzz about the tournament.

The bonus of this high-profile tournament is that both the quarter-finals and semi-finals take place during the week so it’s a chance to boost midweek business if you are screening them.

It is believed that Manchester United garner the support of about 3m fans across the UK – not a real surprise because they are the team that has won more Premier League titles than any other team.

Liverpool may not have won the league since the 1989-90 season but still have an incredible UK fan base of 2m; while Tottenham and Manchester City have 600,000 supporters each, a figure that is no doubt rising as success breeds success.

Preparation is key

The first leg of quarter-final games will take place on Tuesday 9 April and Wednesday 10 May, with the second legs a week later on Tuesday 16 May and Wednesday 17 May.

Meanwhile, the semi-finals are scheduled for 30 April and 1 May, followed by the deciding legs on 7-8 May; with the showpiece final on Saturday 1 June.

That means you have just over three weeks to get ready so make sure you start trying to attract customers through your social media channels now.

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