‘Six Nations rugby more important than all football events bar World Cup’

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Building the atmosphere: MatchPint says the Six Nations rugby could offer great opportunities for licensees
Building the atmosphere: MatchPint says the Six Nations rugby could offer great opportunities for licensees

Related tags Sport Licensing Food Technology

Some 44% of sports fans said they plan to watch the 2022 Guinness Six Nations live in a pub this year with only the FIFA World Cup ranking higher, according to research by MatchPint, which allows pub customers find venues showing sports matches, and hospitality insights expert KAM Media.

Despite football’s dominance of the UK sporting landscape, the Six Nations is a bigger draw than the Champions League final (43%), FA Cup final (39%) and Premier League (33%) in terms of what people will get off the sofa and into a pub for.

While the data suggests tournaments such as the Six Nations and one-off finals will be the biggest footfall drivers in 2022, that’s not reflected in what pubs are looking to prioritise this year.

Licensees rank Six Nations lower

When publicans were asked what events they will be showing live in 2022, the Six Nations only ranked fifth in their responses, falling below events such as Europa and Champions League football.

The quality of screens when choosing somewhere to watch the Six Nations was prioritised by 58% of sports fans, however, 84% said the atmosphere created by watching with a big group of people will be the driving force that gets them into a pub.

The survey suggests the chance to enjoy food will be the least important factor when sports fans choose whether to watch the Six Nations at home or in the pub. Similarly, the range of food a pub offers has little influence on sports fans’ decisions on where they will watch a game.

Huge appeal of pub viewing

MatchPint co-founder Dom Collingwood said: “Having seen two Six Nations and two autumns of international rugby heavily affected by Covid, it’s easy to forget how incredible a big Six Nations afternoon in a great pub can be.

“It might seem surprising but the unique history, passion and tight, high-scoring games mean it has a huge appeal among all sports fans.

“The gap we’re seeing between public interest and publican intent highlights a real opportunity for the pubs that are showing the Six Nations to capitalise on the event.

“Entering the tournament with limitations on stadium capacity will arise further opportunities for pubs.

“Getting the fixtures advertised online early and ensuring a great viewing experience are two easy ways to make the very most of that fan excitement.”

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