Six Nations rugby 2nd most popular sport at pubs

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

In good hands: pubs create a cracking atmosphere when the Six Nations rugby is screened (credit: Getty/Henrik Sorensen)
In good hands: pubs create a cracking atmosphere when the Six Nations rugby is screened (credit: Getty/Henrik Sorensen)

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The rugby Six Nations tournament is the second most popular sporting event to watch at pubs with only the football World Cup ahead of it.

Six Nations fixtures 2023


2.15pm – Wales v Ireland

4.45pm – England v Scotland


3pm – Italy v France


2.15pm – Ireland v France

4.45pm – Scotland v Wales


3pm – England v Italy


2.15pm – Italy v Ireland

4.45pm – Wales v England


3pm – France v Scotland


2.15pm – Italy v Wales

4.45pm – England v France


3pm – Scotland v Ireland


12.30pm – Scotland v Italy

2.15pm – France v Wales

5pm – Ireland v England

Some 44% of sports fans said they plan to watch the rugby spectacle live in a pub this year, according to a survey conducted by app Fanzo, which allows users to find pubs that are showing live sport, and insights business Kam.

The survey found that 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, that’s not reflected in what pubs are looking to prioritise this year.

Growing interest

Analysis of last year’s tournament showed the growing interest in the Six Nations among fans and publicans. There were 155,000 unique searches on Fanzo for pubs showing the 2022 tournament compared to 114,000 in 2020 (the 2021 tournament took place under lockdown).

The 30,883 searches for a pub showing the epic 2022 showdown between France v England is the greatest search volume for a Six Nations event in Fanzo’s history (previously MatchPint), exceeding England’s game against Ireland in 2020 by 209 searches.

The survey also discovered some key facts pubs can take advantage of. Some 58% of sports fans will prioritise the quality of screens when choosing somewhere to watch the Six Nations, however, 84% said the atmosphere created by watching with a big group of people will be the driving force that gets them off their sofa and into the pub.

The opportunity 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.

Incredible afternoons

MatchPint co-founder Dom Collingwood said: “Having seen two Six Nations and two autumns of international rugby heavily affected by Covid now, 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 who 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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