We Love Sport app launch
The reveal of Stonegate, Molson Coors and CGA’s research at the Editor’s Tap, in central London, coincided with the launch of Stonegate’s new sports pub-finding app We Love Sport, which combines a means of locating the best sport pubs in the operator’s 722-strong UK pub estate – including Sports Bar & Grill and Walkabout sites – with a loyalty scheme offering rewards for each visit and incentives to visit a pub to watch niche sport.
“This research has offered true insight into sports in the on-trade and has highlighted numerous ways in which we, as an industry, can improve the experience for customers,” Stonegate’s sports marketing manager Stephen Cooper explained.
“Sports lovers want venues to be fan-friendly zones where they can watch live sports with fellow supporters.
“Our venues have always been synonymous with sport, but this study has informed how we can be even better.
“One such example is the launch of our brand-new sports app that highlights nearby venues showing live sport, bringing fans together and building a strong sporting community.”
According to CGA research commissioned by Stonegate Pub Company and Molson Coors, more than a third (36%) of the 25.3m British consumers who watch live sport – either at the event itself or on television – base their choice of venue on the atmosphere they’re likely to soak up there.
But according to findings, a good match-day atmosphere in a pub doesn’t just constitute belting out obscure hits with a sporting flavour of the month’s name shoehorned in or celebrating a goal by lobbing a full pint skywards.
First and foremost, research found that before a venue can be considered a good place to watch sport, it needs to nail its basic hospitality offer with some 72% of pubgoing sport fans stating that the primary expectation of a venue was for it to be a safe place to watch the action unfold.
Furthermore, value for money, location and food and drink available were each highlighted as important factors in deciding where to watch sport by 38%, 32% and 24% of respondents respectively.
On top of this, rather than the absence of match-day tech or entertainment, the elements most likely to affect consumer experience and the chance of a repeat visit for sport were obstructed vision (50%), plastic cups (39%) and slow service at the bar (37%).
What creates atmosphere?
The two greatest contributing factors during a sporting event were found to be the venue being packed with people interested in watching whatever sport is on (36%) as well as the presence of plenty of ultra HD screens (35%).
What’s more, the survey revealed 28% of pubgoing sports fans believed specific deals for the event created a great atmosphere, while around one-in-four saw audible commentary (24%) and the venue simply being packed with customers, sports fans or not, (23%) as top contributors.
Other key factors in a pub’s match-day atmosphere included staff selling hand-held food (21%), table service for drinks (18%), half-time music (12%) and lighting (9%).
Perhaps reassuringly – the ability to watch the action unfold live from a smartphone or hand-held device in venue was considered an important generator of match-day atmosphere by just 2% of respondents.
The pre-booking opportunity
Additionally, pre-booking was highlighted as a huge opportunity for sport pub operators by Stonegate, Molson Coors and CGA’s research with 71% of fans who pre-booked for an event likely to pre-book again for a future fixture.
According to findings, the five most important factors in encouraging fans to pre-book pub space for sporting events were the guarantee of good seats, exclusive food and drink deals, table service and – for one in 10 respondents – the ability to choose which event is being shown.