And almost nine in 10 (87%) customers say they stay out longer than usual when a live game is being screened while even more (89%) are more likely to revisit a venue if they know it shows sport.
The survey carried out by CGA by NIQ and Sky Business also discovered live sport connects friends and families, with three quarters (75%) of viewers watching with bigger groups than they would usually socialise with on non-sporting occasions.
Football, in particular the English Premier League, is the most watched sport ahead of rugby union, boxing, cricket and Formula 1.
The new report called The Value of Live Sport in Britain’s Pubs and Bars also features an in-depth survey of pub landlords, managers and owners that reinforces the value of live sport to venues and the risk of neglecting it, with four in five (82%) believing some guests would go elsewhere if they stopped screening games.
Women’s sports more popular
Other insights from the new report include:
• Women’s sports are increasingly popular in pubs and bars. Half (48%) of venues plan to screen more games over the next few months – providing a great opportunity to bring more women and families into venues.
• Free and fast Wi-Fi is an essential part of the pub and bar experience. More than four in five (85%) of those who watch sport in pubs and bars expect free Wi-Fi access, and almost two thirds (64%) say a poor connection makes them less likely to return.
Andy Dean, CGA by NIQ’s client director – hospitality operators and food, said: “This research confirms the enormous value of live sport to Britain’s pubs, bars and drinks suppliers.”
Can’t be replicated at home
Dean continued: “These venues give people memorable and communal experiences that simply can’t be replicated at home, especially during major football competitions, and these occasions not only boost spend but improve reputation.
“With businesses and households alike facing major cost pressures, it’s more important than ever to provide compelling reasons to eat and drink out, and investing in live sport is an excellent way to keep people coming through the doors.”
Sky Business Hospitality managing director Damian Saunders said: “As we head into a new football season, we wanted to get a barometer of how people value sport and the role it plays, whether they are behind the bar or in front of it.
“There’s nothing quite like live sport when it comes to bringing people together. Whether your customers are hardcore sports fans, follow an individual team or player, or just casually watch from time to time, watching live sport in a pub is undiminished and plays a key role in creating a great atmosphere and connecting people from all walks of life.”