With the Rugby World Cup in France still reasonably fresh in the memory, rugby remains front of mind for many of your customers, so the forthcoming Six Nations offers a fantastic opportunity to drive new footfall to your venue during a typically slower trading period of the year.

The Six Nations Championship is the oldest international rugby tournament in the world, dating all the way back to 1883. The competition was expanded to its current format of six teams in 2000 and is set to offer up an endless stream of opportunities over the five rounds of matches starting on 2 February and running all the way through until the final round on 16 March.

Current Six Nations champions Ireland will once again be favourites to lift the trophy, particularly after their performance at the Rugby World Cup. However, England proved to be the surprise package in France so will undoubtedly fancy their chances in the Six Nations. Both Scotland and France are in decent form though, while Wales and Italy will need to improve on recent showings to have any chance of success. Whatever way you look at it, rugby fans are in for another treat – and that means plenty of opportunities for venues to make the most of the tournament.

CASH IN

According to data from CGA by NIQ, venues that showed live Six Nations matches last year generated 28% more sales on matchdays than on the average equivalent day – double the 14% increase seen at non-sports venues. On the tournament’s opening weekend alone, total drinks sales in sports venues increased by an astonishing 38%.

The categories to benefit most were stout (up 85%), cask ales, world lager and cider. Soft drinks also saw a spike of 15%, spirits were up 24% and wine grew by 15% across all matchdays.

CGA client director Paul Bolton commented: “The Six Nations is a reminder of the power of big sporting occasions to loosen people’s spending and encourage brand trial and loyalty.”

GET INVOLVED

With endless opportunities for heroics and intrigue on the pitch come extensive opportunities for boosting sales and profits – and it will pay to focus your efforts on the products most likely to drive your business forward.

As highlighted above, beer is a fundamental part of the rugby- watching experience for many of your customers and Greene King and Belhaven’s extensive portfolio of top-quality products and their longstanding and very deep links with rugby offer you the perfect platform to build on.

Greene King IPA was the Official Beer of England Rugby for eight consecutive years as well as being the title sponsor of the English Championship for eight years. The brand’s high-profile relationship with high-level rugby continues to this day through Greene King IPA’s official partnership with three Premiership clubs: Saracens, Newcastle and Gloucester.

Greene King IPA also supports grassroots rugby through its groundbreaking Proud To Pitch In initiative, as well as counting over 100 rugby clubs as Free Trade customers.

At 3.4% ABV, it’s the perfect session beer for your customers to enjoy during the Six Nations – so make sure you keep it prominent in-venue in the coming months. To help you do just that, venues are currently being offered a free ‘Watch Rugby Here’ POS kit which will ensure that the brand is unmissable during the tournament and help add theatre to drive interest and excitement. The kit includes fixture list posters, empty belly posters to advertise games or price promotions, consumer competition kits and social media assets.

Similarly, the recently refreshed Belhaven Best brand has enjoyed a lengthy involvement with rugby and is a firm favourite of many drinkers when it comes to spending a few hours in the pub watching the match.

Belhaven Best is also offering a ‘Watch Rugby Here’ POS kit to venues as is, for the very first time, Belhaven Black. A rich and welcoming 4.2% abv stout, made using a blend of roast barley, roasted black malt and a light roasted chocolate malt. This creates a deliciously deep, smooth, full-bodied stout with a hint of sweet chocolate and a rich dark finish – without the bitterness of other stouts.

With stout seeing sales spike by 85% during the Six Nations, according to CGA data, this offers an exciting new opportunity for venues stocking Belhaven Black to cash in on that well-established trend by offering their customers a fantastic-tasting, competitively-priced alternative. The POS kit will help make Belhaven Black unmissable during the Six Nations.

SCREEN STARS

Making the most of the Six Nations, of course, means optimising your sports TV subscriptions in every way that you can. Greene King and Belhaven can help save up to 50% on your sports TV subscriptions, which is step one in getting the best out of live sport.