Pubs preparing for 'another a bumper year of sport'

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Sport in 2020: a look ahead to a year of sport featuring this summer's Euro 2020 and Tokyo Olympics
Sport in 2020: a look ahead to a year of sport featuring this summer's Euro 2020 and Tokyo Olympics

Related tags Sport

Ahead of a huge year of sport in 2020, The Morning Advertiser spoke to pub operators and industry experts about the events they hope will boost their bottom line in the next 12 months.

Big summer of sport


Most popular pub events in 2019

  1. Ruiz v Joshua 2 (150,000 searches on MatchPint)
  2. Tottenham v Liverpool (Champions League Final) (91,000)
  3. England v South Africa (Rugby World Cup final) (72,000)
Sport (6)

Source: MatchPint

“Summer is a big one this year – we’re really looking forward to the European Championships and the Olympics,” according to Justine Lorriman of the Royal Dyche in Burnley, Lancashire.

“Euro 2020 will probably bring in more trade for us, we are lucky to have screens outside too so, if it’s sunny, our customers can enjoy a pint in the sun as well as watch the football.

“The better England do, the busier all the pubs across the country will be as fans will be out in full force to watch it. The World Cup was great for us and we were lucky to have the weather on side. We’re looking forward to getting our flags up, planning a sweepstake and get the special drinks offers up. Then we will be swapping the English flags for the Great Britain ones when the Olympics start.

“We do get a few coming in for Wimbledon and The Open too but we are very much a football pub – which is all fine by me as I’m a huge football fan and enjoy it myself.”

Continued rise of women’s and ‘niche’ sport


Boxing – more marquee fights

“Boxing has always been one of the biggest draws for MatchPint, and a huge opportunity for bars to drive in fans,” according to operations director Robert Stewart. “Especially as they are late at night and usually require pre-booking.

“The marquee fights drive a huge amount of interest, but there is still significant appetite for all boxing. Wilder v Fury 2 will likely be an early morning fight, but will be extremely popular and, if we finally see Joshua v Fury, we will likely see one of the most popular events since Mayweather v Pacquiao.”

Tyson Fury

“Last year was an amazing year for us and 2020 is set to be even bigger with flagship sporting events such as the Six Nations, FA Cup Final, Champions League Final, Euro 2020 and the Grand National, at the core,” Stephen Cooper, sports marketing manager for Stonegate Pub Company said.

“Euro 2020 matches taking place in London and Glasgow will drive footy fans in their thousands to the UK and with no less than nine British football clubs competing for European glory in the UEFA Champions and Europa League, the stage is set for a great season.

“We’re also continuing our drive to support women’s sport in pubs with some fantastic female-led tournaments coming our way including football, Netball Super League and the Women’s Six Nations.

“Niche sports will kick off the year strongly with Super Bowl 54 scheduled during the first week of February, and with WWE moving to BT Sport – we’re excited to see how they evolve signature events such as Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania and Summerslam. We also have the exciting launch of The Hundred – cricket’s new super league.

“Finally, the pinnacle of sport itself takes place this summer with the Olympics over in Japan and we, alongside the rest of the industry, will be looking at how to tackle the time difference to lend our support.”

International feel


Formula One – Lewis Hamilton chases history

“F1 is a tricky one for pubs to navigate – it is either really early morning, late at night or crosses over Sunday football,” MatchPint’s Robert Stewart explains.

“However, we consistently see 84% fewer venues show it than the Premier League.

“With Lewis Hamilton chasing a Michael Schumacher-equalling seventh title, and the increased competitiveness in racing, 2020 should be a massive year. If pubs can navigate around the issues above, they will reap the benefits. The season starts 15 March, but the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 19 July should be a must because it has been moved away from the Wimbledon final for this year.”

Lewis Hamilton

“At the Famous Three Kings, we are really excited about the amount of fantastic live sport that will be coming up in 2020,” according to Paul Eastwood, general manager of the Famous Three Kings in Fulham, west London.

“At the top of the list is Euro 2020 in June and July. With England and Wales already through, we are keeping our fingers crossed for Scotland and Ireland to make it over the line in the play-offs. As a pub with a truly international customer base, other key nations to add into the mix for us include Italy, France, Spain, Finland and Denmark, so we are aiming for a significant increase in sales during the tournament.

“Historically, the Champions League is another key event for us and we hope for another strong Premier League presence in the latter stages.

“Last year’s final was record-breaking for us so, hopefully, Liverpool will make the final and we can achieve a similar result this year. Viewing figures across the country for Liverpool seem to just grow and grow, and their fans are one of the best in terms of spend-per-head in a group of football fans.

“­The Six Nations is also always huge, with England versus Wales being the stand-out fixture, and one that has also provided some record-breaking days in terms of sales in previous years.

“Boxing has also had a resurgence. After some poor fights in 2019, we look forward to Fury v Wilder 2 in February and, hopefully, a big Anthony Joshua fight later in the year. Joshua’s return to winning ways is a welcome one with fights consistently hitting some of the highest takings. American sport continues to grow – we have done very well out of the NFL and college football. ­ The Super Bowl should also be bigger than ever for us this year.

“As a cricket fan, I look forward to the 2020 T20 World Cup because England have a good chance to build on their summer one-day success. ­The Olympics is another eagerly awaited event, but I feel it may not impact on trade too much due to the timings from Japan.”

Bumper year ahead

Euro 2020

Most sought after sport

  1. Premier League
  2. Boxing
  3. Champions League
  4. Rugby World Cup 2019
  5. Six Nations
  6. Europa League
  7. Cricket World Cup

Source: MatchPint

Premier League

“Since England’s unexpected success at the World Cup two years ago and the incredible benefit the pub trade saw on the back of that tournament, it’s fair to say all eyes have been firmly fixed on Euro 2020, which kicks off on 12 June,” Greene King’s head of sport Chris Conchie explained.

“With England going into the tournament as one of the favourites and both the semi-finals and finals being hosted at Wembley, there’s no doubt that this will be a massive opportunity for the industry to capitalise on, even more so if it’s coupled with another bout of stellar weather like we had in 2018.

“Before that, of course, we’ve got the Six Nations to enjoy. Following their defeat in the World Cup final, there will be a lot of interest and expectation on the England team in particular.

“Equally, the Champions League Final last year – which famously featured two Premier League teams for the first time since 2008 – was one of our biggest days of the year, so a repeat of that would certainly be welcomed.

“With all of this, alongside other major fixtures in the sporting calendar such as the FA Cup Final and the Olympics and Paralympics, we’re in for another a bumper year of sport.”

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