Retain Six Nations footfall by screening women’s tournament

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Keep the buzz going: keep sports fans at your pub with the women's Six Nations (credit: Getty/South_agency)
Keep the buzz going: keep sports fans at your pub with the women's Six Nations (credit: Getty/South_agency)

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The Six Nations rugby tournament has boosted footfall to pubs during the past month or so but operators have been warned not to miss out on retaining that custom by showing the upcoming women’s version.

More than 714,000 sports fans will watch the 2022 Women’s Six Nations but only 14% of those people plan to watch a game in a pub, suggests research conducted by sports match-finding pub app MatchPint and research consultancy KAM.

As women’s sport continues to gain popularity, pubs could benefit from doing more to promote the games and create inclusive environments, helped by being broadcast on BBC. The tournament runs from 26 March until 30 April.

Keep momentum up

The England v Canada women’s rugby match, which was shown on BBC Two in November 2021, drew in TV audiences of more than 1m but only 34% of UK venues plan on showing the Women’s Six Nations, compared to the 76% of sites that show the men’s tournament. Of the pubs that are set to show the games, only 18% think they will proactively advertise them.

MatchPint co-founder Dominic Collingwood said: “If a venue has had a successful men’s Six Nations, it’s a good opportunity to keep the momentum up. Venues need to let customers know they're showing the women’s tournament by promoting the games online and in-house. At this growing stage, it’s unlikely fans will assume the games are on in a pub unless they’ve been shown otherwise.

“If a venue wants to be seen as an inclusive place to enjoy sport, it’s important to create a safe environment. This doesn’t necessarily mean hiring a large security team, pubs should ensure staff are fully trained so they’re able to recognise and report any inappropriate behaviour. Make customers aware early of what won’t be tolerated in your venue and what the consequences of any unwanted behaviour are.”

Build customer trust

He continued: “The Women’s Six Nations won’t be the biggest footfall driver of 2022, however, if it’s done well, venues are likely to build trust and retain customers.”

A spokesperson for KAM added: “We’re definitely seeing a growing interest in women’s sports and this research shows there are additional opportunities for publicans. Women’s games often attract a more family-friendly crowd.

“The key will be providing an inclusive, welcoming and safe viewing space. If the past two years have taught us anything it’s that we cannot stand still – women’s sport is growing in popularity and, if done well, has the potential to be very lucrative for pubs this summer and beyond.”

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