In association with Molson Coors, Diageo and Sky

Make your pub the perfect place to watch sport

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

According to Ipsos MORI’s Out of Home Viewing Panel, 2.1m fans watch sport on TV in out of home venues such as pubs and bars at least once a week. But how can operators upgrade their venue to cash in?

Pub sport in numbers

1 – Doom Bar is the most sold cask ale in the on-trade (Source: The Morning Advertiser’s Drinks List)

28.94 – The average sports fan spends £28.94 per pub trip versus an average of £14.25 by non-sports fans (Source: MCBC & CGA Sports Analysis 2018)

2.1 – More than 2.1m adults watch live sport on TV out of home at least once a week (Source: Ipsos MORI’s out of home viewing panel)

3 – Of Britain’s three best-selling beers, Guinness is the fastest growing (Source: CGA)

30 – The average pub showing Premier League football sees a £30,000 boost in wet sales every season (Source: Matchpint)

90 – Sport fans will spend an average of more than three hours in a venue on match days, staying for almost 90 minutes after a game ends (Source: MCBC & CGA Sports Analysis 2018)

30 – From Blue Moon and Carling to Guinness and Hop House 13, subscribing pubs have access to over thirty brands under Molson Coors, Sky and Diageo’s partnership.

94 – When watching live sport 94% of people prefer the atmosphere of a pub (Source: Matchpint)

Nailing a beer-led drinks o­ffer

While spirits and soft drink categories are making waves among sport fans aged between 18 and 30 – around a quarter of the age group claim they’re likely to drink spirits while watching sport – and wine is the tipple of choice for almost 40% of women watching Premier League football yet drinks by the pint still get the nod from the majority of sports fans.

Lager, ale, cider and stout are the four most popular match-day drinks according to MatchPint’s 2019/20 Season Brie­fing​, which ­finds that despite increased wine, spirit and soft sales – 75% of sports fans claim they’re most likely to drink a lager while watching Premier League football.

Rotate your food and drink line-up

More than half of customers watching sport in a pub consider food quality important when choosing a matchday venue, according to MatchPint’s research, with more than three quarters placing the same emphasis on a pub’s drinks offer.

As a result, many operators have developed themed food and drink menus around tournaments and fixtures – for example, US beer buckets and nachos for NFL ­fixtures – or snack menu staples that can be eaten cutlery free while standing in front of a screen.

What’s more, beer and food pairing can add to the match-day experience – for example, draught Guinness intensi­fies the taste of ­ fish and chips through harmonising flavours while pairing pasta and Open Gate Pilsner brings bold, unexpected flavours to Pasta Arrabiata.

Screen size matters

According to MatchPint, having a big screen is the most important factor behind customers choosing a pub to watch sport in – ranking higher than the pub’s location, drinks range or even the price of its food and drink.

The pub-finding app found 40% of respondents cited screen size as a ‘very important’ factor when choosing somewhere to watch Premier League football, with just over 50% identifying it as ‘fairly important’.

Molson Coors, Diageo and Sky (1)

Seen and heard

Being able to hear in-game commentary at a pub is more important to customers than drinks range, guaranteed seating, price or food quality, according to the same research.

Almost four in every ­five pubgoing sports fans consider it ‘very important’ or ‘fairly important’ that they’re able to hear expert analysis during a game.

Drinks to suit everyone

“As a sports bar in the heart of Norwich, we were delighted when we found out about the partnership between Sky, Molson Coors and Diageo,” Philip Cutter of 2019 Great British Pub Award Best for Sport finalist the Murderers explains.

“We’ve always had Sky Sports in our venue, but with the added discount, we have been able to invest in even more TVs (we now have 16 in total!).

“We have found that although football is a key profit driver for us, customers are now coming down to watch F1, rugby, Gaelic football and the cricket. And of course, they are eating and drinking when they do so, which is great for our sales. The breadth of brands from Diageo and Molson Coors also means that we have a drink to suit everyone - if that’s Guinness with the rugby, or Carling with the football.

“Screening sport is about more than just turning on the TV, it’s creating the right atmosphere and making it a real event. In our pub we have created optimum viewing spots and developed a menu for quick, delicious pub grub that people want. I would encourage other bars and pubs to get on board with screening sports, as it has been a great success for me.”

Molson Coors, Diageo and Sky (3)

Stay connected

With social media and WhatsApp chats an inextricable part of a matchday experience with friends at the pub, keeping your customers connected with fast Wi-Fi is paramount.

Many of your customers will be online during their time in the pub, so there’s great opportunity to interact and build the connection between the pub and the occasion. According to MatchPint, more than half of customers who watch sport in pubs play Fantasy Football and more than 40% play Sky Sports’ Super Six on a match day.

Interact and incentivise

If there’s something at stake, engaging with and incentivising customers has been found to be a route to success for pubs, with research finding that 97% of fans say they’d play a game in which they could predict the score and win a pint.

Molson Coors, Diageo and Sky (2)

Don’t just show the Premier League

While the Premier League may be the biggest draw, the presence of the Championship, Carabao Cup and other similar football tournaments on sporting wish lists compiled by MatchPint is a reminder for operators not to neglect other football competitions that can draw in the crowds. From traditional fan favourites such as Formula 1 through to a wide range of new and emerging sports including NFL and NBA, customers can choose from an amazing selection of live content and enjoy more moneymaking opportunities with Sky.

Get in the zone

With plenty of sporting coverage on offer from broadcasters, pubs have a unique opportunity to zone venues to cater for fans of different sports, taking place simultaneously. ­The difference in atmosphere between major golf and a high-octane Premier League clash necessitates zoning of different areas for different sports to maintain noise levels appropriate to each sport.

What’s more, with increased demand for a range of pub experiences and consumer price points, larger operators have the chance to zone o‑ standing sections, add more premium pre-booked seating areas or even options for dining within their venue during sport.

Sky, Molson Coors and Diageo partnership

Diageo, Molson Coors and Sky will help pubs unlock an extra 20% discount on their Sky subscription, now o­ffering licensees up to 50% o­ Sky Sports.

Previously, subscribing licensees were rewarded with a discount of up to 30% for stocking and selling six kegs across three Molson Coors brands – including Carling, Coors Light and Doom Bar – per week.

However, the addition of Diageo brands such as Guinness, Hop House 13, Open Gate Pilsner and Open Gate Citra IPA as of July means pubs stocking and selling an additional four kegs across three more brands – assuming a minimum one keg per brand – will be eligible for up to 50% o­ff their Sky Sports subscription.

*Other discounts are based on the volume and variety of Diageo products taken each week.

**Discount only available in England and Wales.

Call 08442 411 528​ or register your interest at

Related topics: Sport

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