Atmosphere is key to attracting World Cup fans

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Oh, what an atmosphere: your efforts can bring people out of home to your pub for the World Cup (credit: Getty/FG Trade)
Oh, what an atmosphere: your efforts can bring people out of home to your pub for the World Cup (credit: Getty/FG Trade)

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Bad weather may detract football fans from going to pubs for the world cup but the atmosphere inside is a huge draw, according to music licensing society PPL PRS.

Three ways your pub can encourage World Cup custom

1) Play music between games

Create a playlist with songs that cater to the escalating excitement pre-match, the buzz of halftime and a feel-good finale for afterwards (that your punters can celebrate or commiserate to).

Another PPL PRS survey found over two thirds (67%) of respondents admit to leaving a venue because no music was playing.

Other statistics include 60% claim a song helps them relax and 40% would spend more money in a pub if they heard pop music playing, followed closely by rock fans (25%).

A good atmosphere can also be created by engaging customers’ other senses such as lowering the lighting and, if possible, burning logs on a fire.

2) Run seasonal special offers and events

Try out themed menus showcasing food and drinks from the nations playing or host a sweepstake for your regulars to entice more customers in. You could consider drink offers (like ‘2 for 1’) before or after a game – providing you have enough staff – to encourage punters to stay for longer.

3) Remind customers of summer atmosphere

Knowing that football fans miss the summer games, why not remind customers of World Cup traditions? You could offer summery drinks and bar snacks as refreshments. Or, set up heaters and screens in beer gardens so fans can watch the games outside.

Research from PPL PRS, which collects fees from licensing the use of music, has revealed 85% of sports fans will watch the men’s football World Cup but the event’s switch to winter means 70% plan on doing so from the comfort of their own homes.

Three quarters (75%) of survey respondents said they would have visited a pub or bar if the games were held in the summer but now, in these chillier months, the hospitality sector faces only 14% viewing in the on-trade.

Socialising a big factor too 

However, PPL PRS has discovered the atmosphere of the pub is the one of the largest incentives (60%) in enticing customers to watch the matches in a pub.

Other top draws are ‘socialising’ (59%) then ‘meeting friends and family’ (58%), so creating a vibrant community feel is a key.  

Two thirds (66%) of football fans would be tempted to head out if a venue held a special promotion or World Cup-themed events, which is a boost to the trade because almost half (49%) have financial concerns. While the timings of kick-offs have proved inconvenient for almost a quarter (24%) of footy fans.

Commenting on the findings, Marianne Rizkallah, music therapist for PPL PRS, said: “When we hear music at a steady but upbeat tempo, it encourages our nervous system to tune into the rhythm and use the beat as a hook to sing along.”

Living the same experience

Rizkallah continued: “When we’re in a crowd of people, especially friends, family or colleagues, the music enhances this sense of connection through the shared beat, knowledge of the melody and the sense of living the same experience together. The music holds the group in the collective experience – it’s really joyful to be a part of.”

Andrea Gray, Managing Director of PPL PRS, added: “It’s interesting to see how significantly the nation’s viewing habits change when a summer sporting event moves to winter.

“Though let’s not forget this time of year is characterised by Christmas and New Year’s Eve – two very profitable celebrations for the hospitality industry – so it’s worth reframing the World Cup as an early entry to the festive season.

“It’s a season of joy and community which atmosphere, particularly music, creates.”

PPL represents performers and record companies while PRS for Music is a society of songwriters, composers and music publishers. Collectively​, they collect fees for music use under TheMusicLicence.

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