On-trade boosted by big weekend sporting fixtures

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Sporting weekend: volume sales, footfall and dwell time increased in the on-trade (credit: Getty/The Good Brigade)
Sporting weekend: volume sales, footfall and dwell time increased in the on-trade (credit: Getty/The Good Brigade)

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Big wins for Scotland in the Six Nations rugby and Liverpool in the Carabao Cup at the weekend helped boost sales at pubs.

Scotland’s storming performance against England on Saturday (24 February) ensured they won the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield in the Six Nations tournament with a final score of 30-21.

This led to draught beer and cider sales in Scotland increasing by a staggering 19% as fans celebrated into the night, according to real-time market intelligence business Oxford Partnership.

Then Sunday (25 February) brought the final of the Carabao Cup between Liverpool and Chelsea with pubs that showed it selling an extra 88 pints (worth an average of £413) versus those not subscribing to Sky Sports.

Not unexpectedly, the biggest winners were the north-west of England and London, with the Liverpool ‘L’ postcode recording the highest uplift of 83% in volume sales while the entire region enjoyed a boost of 27% as fans celebrated and extra-time goal from captain Virgil van Dijk to give Liverpool victory.

Extra dwell time

The extra time period gave pubs showing the game an additional 30 minutes of dwell time.

The ‘HA’ Wembley postcode in north-west London also delivered a very successful day for the on-trade, reporting sales three times higher than average with fans visiting pubs before and after the game.

Off the pitch, despite the overall trade picture showing sales down 5.1% in the previous full week and minus 5.8% in the previous four weeks versus the same time periods in 2023 respectively, the sports bonanza brought that decline up to a much healthier figure of minus 1.5% and – the even better news – was the weekend scored an 18.4% uplift versus all other weekends so far in 2024. 

A whopping 26.5m pints of draught beer and cider were sold with the average pub pouring 700 pints (an extra 109 versus the average weekend so far in 2024), equating to a £3,236 income generator.

Thirsty Scotland fans

Unsurprisingly, Scotland had the thirstiest fans, who drank an extra 189 pints on average per pub, England came in not too far behind with a 126-​pint rise while Wales, who lost away in Ireland, trailed with an extra 44 pints being sold.

Overall, Oxford Partnership reported footfall growing ahead of volume with the weekend up 1.8% versus the same period in 2023, driven by strong increases in Sunday trade. Suburbia and rural on-trade sites led the way 2.1% and 1.1% footfall boosts respectively. City centres declined slightly, driven by a fall in footfall on a Saturday.

Average consumer dwell time also grew to an average consumer visit of 135 mins versus 131 mins in the same week last year, which was a 3.1% rise. The suburbs saw the highest growth of 6.1% while both rural and city centre locations rose by 2.3% in like-for-likes for the same weekend in 2023.

Oxford Partnership managing partner Henry Powell said: “What a fantastic uplift for pubs showing the Carabao Cup, yet again demonstrating the power of live sport to drive the market forward. 

And, of course, the Six Nations continues to deliver the sales we have seen time and time again – a real boost for the on-trade.”

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