There’s nothing that gets customers off the sofa and into a pub more reliably and more regularly than live sport and, with an absolutely packed international sporting schedule ahead of us over the next few months, there will be endless opportunities to boost footfall, sales and profits.

And if you’ve ever wondered whether showing live sport in your pub is actually worth the expense of committing to a TV sports subscription, then it’s time to think again.

According to Fanzo, the hugely popular app that helps fans find venues showing live sports in their local area, the annual sales uplift to the average pub for showing live sport comes in at a whopping £83,000!

In other words, depending on what you pay for your sports TV subscriptions, that’s an average return on investment of somewhere between x4 and x8. In terms of bang for your buck and the straightforward skills required to make a success of it, nothing else in the pub industry comes close, says Fanzo.

That said, sports channel subscriptions are more expensive than ever – but there’s good news here too. Through their Money Maker initiative, Greene King and Belhaven are able to offer their customers discounts of up to 50% on their subscriptions.

With a veritable feast of top-class sport on the cards over the next few months, now is the perfect time to consider how you could cash in on the British love of competitive sport to drive increased footfall and help grow your bottom line.

 

Thirst quenchers

Leveraging the allure of sport, however, is only part of the solution. The key challenge – and major opportunity – lies in turning that extra footfall into increased sales in your venue. Fortunately, Greene King and Belhaven’s longstanding and very deep links with a range of sports offers you the perfect platform to build on.

Top-quality ale has long enjoyed a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship with quintessentially British sports like rugby and cricket. Greene King IPA is the perfect example, having been the Official Beer of England Rugby for eight consecutive years and title sponsor of the English Championship for eight years.

That 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 ground-breaking Proud To Pitch In initiative, as well as counting over 100 rugby clubs as Free Trade customers.

At 3.6% ABV, it’s the perfect session beer for your customers to enjoy during the Six Nations tournament – so make sure you keep it prominent in-venue in the coming months.

Similarly, the recently refreshed Belhaven Best 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.

Pub with sports on TV

 

Packed programme

It seems that there are more live sporting fixtures than ever these days and this summer in particular is packed to the rafters with top notch matches and tournaments across all key sports including rugby, cricket, football, golf, tennis and F1 to name but a few.

The highly anticipated Ashes series sees England and Australia continue their time-honoured battle over five separate Tests until the end of July, Wimbledon gets underway from the 3rd of July and just a few days later the British Grand Prix takes place.

Golf fans have the Scottish Open marked on their cards for the 13th to the 16th of July and the 151st Open Championship to look forward to just four days later.

In August, cricket and rugby move to the fore with the Autumn International rugby union series of Test matches and the increasingly popular Hundred cricket tournament.

And let’s not forget a real highlight of the next couple of months, the FIFA Women’s World Cup. With the heroics of the Lionesses in last year’s Euros still fresh in the memory, the World Cup is sure to drive footfall, particularly if England or the Republic of Ireland manage to reach the latter stages of the tournament.

 

Work it hard

According to Fanzo, however, the key to turning live sports into sales and profits lies in working your sports TV subscriptions hard. The biggest battle publicans face isn’t other pubs showing live sports, it’s getting sports fans off their sofa in the first place.

Key to this is communicating the fixtures you are showing in your venue as widely as possible, to both existing and potential customers. A chalkboard outside your pub or a fixtures list on the wall might help drive more business among existing customers but to reach new customers, social media is vital.

It’s also recommended that venues maximise the value of their subscriptions by experimenting with sports other than just football, rugby and cricket. You wouldn’t pay for a keg of beer and throw half of it away, so why pay for a subscription and only show a fraction of the matches, asks Fanzo?

Consider other growing sports like NFL and consider tailoring your programme to suit your audience. If you have, say, Indian, Irish or Australian communities in your area, why not show some sports that will appeal to those communities to see if you can drive some new footfall?

Best of all, these types of sports tend not to clash with traditional football slots so you can get the most out of your subscription.

 

Fresh profit

It’s worth remembering that you’re already paying for your subscriptions, so every single new customer you can attract by showing live sport is helping increase your return on investment.

And, if you don’t currently show live sports but are considering it and would like to take advantage of the discounted deals available through Greene King and Belhaven, speak to your SDM now to find out how to win with sport this summer.

 

Making the most of live sports

When it comes to making the very most out of your sports TV subscriptions, the key is to avoid simply sticking a TV on in the corner and hoping people come in, according to Fanzo, the leading app that helps fans find venues showing live sports in their local area.

“The biggest battle publicans face isn’t other pubs showing live sports, it’s getting sports fans off their sofa at home,” says Fanzo. Thankfully, beating the sofa and making a success of sport in your pub isn’t rocket science, as the golden rules from Fanzo below demonstrate:

 

  1. Maximise the range of sports you show

It’s a big mistake to only show the Premier League. Yes, Premier League and Champions League ties will always reign supreme, and football is critical: it accounts for 53% of all online searches for pubs showing sport. That other 47%, however, represents a massive opportunity to experiment, set yourself apart from other venues and maximise your profits.

Consider sports, such as NFL, that are experiencing huge growth each year and experiment with new sports to target specific groups. Is there a South Asian or Australasian community in your town? Advertising live cricket could be a great way to get new customers through the door.

The best thing about diversifying what you show is that most of these events happen outside of the traditional football slots. Indian Premier League cricket takes place on weekday afternoons, whilst the NFL and Serie A (Italian football) are great opportunities to get sports fans into your venue on otherwise quiet Sunday nights.

 

  1. Find out what’s on

Not sure what to show? There are lots of ways to check out every sporting event that’s scheduled, including a free TV guide for sport at Fanzo (fanzo.com/en/tvguide) which is particularly handy for venues showing Amazon or Premier Sports, with literally hundreds of fixtures to pick from each week.

 

  1. Reach customers on their mobile

With an exciting range of sport in your venue each week, it’s vital you tell people about it, both existing and potential customers. In the past, you might have placed a chalkboard listing the games outside your bar but these days you’re far more likely to drive new footfall by reaching customers on their mobile phone. So, it makes sense to list your fixtures on social media.

 

  1. Deliver a high-quality experience

Flatscreen TVs and dropdown projectors are more affordable than ever so it’s cheaper now to offer the sort of high-quality experience that will get customers off the sofa, away from their own TV and their cans of beer, to come to the pub for great quality pint and an immersive, social experience. The key to winning this battle is to offer a superior experience to the one that customers can get at home.

 

Here are some more top tips to help achieve that:

Commentary ON

Having commentary on is ‘very important’ to 35% of customers surveyed by Fanzo. Customers who have left their house to come and watch a game are invested enough to want to hear it as well.

Zoning your venue

Not all pubs are dedicated sports venues and have to consider the needs of all their customers. One way around this is effective zoning, breaking your venue up into separate areas, allowing you to focus on the specific needs of customers in each.

Consider table bookings

A fantastic way to entice groups in for sport is to take table bookings. A whopping 65% of Fanzo’s survey respondents said guaranteeing a seat was ‘important’. To mitigate any potentially lost pre-match trade, you could set a time limit on the booking, insist customers claim their table at least 30 minutes before kick-off, or only make half of your table space available for bookings.

Branded promotions/games

Sports fans love a challenge, whether that’s quizzes, prediction games or raffles. Running these in your pub is a brilliant way to engage customers before and after big games whilst rewarding them for their loyalty. Speak to your Greene King or Belhaven SDM to find out how they can help.

Sport means spend….

According to Ipsos data from Jun 2022, 57% of pub-going sport viewers spend more when watching sport than when not. Sport delivers unmatched drama, which is proven to bring in more customers, who stay for longer, spend more – and keep coming back. Greene King and Belhaven have a range of discounts to help you save on your bill, and free marketing support tools so you maximise your return on investment. Speak to your SDM about how we can help.

According to BT Sport:

85% of sports fans spend more on drinks when watching live sport

76% would stop going to their local if they stopped showing live sport

89% of those who go to the pub to watch sport, do so to watch football

92% of sports fans said that showing live sport during the week positively influences their visit frequency to a pub.

Sign post saying live sport shown here

Summer of sport

28th Jun-2nd July

Ashes 2nd Test

 

1st -23rd July

Tour de France

 

3rd-16th July

Wimbledon

 

6th-10th July

Ashes 3rd Test

 

7th-9th July

Formula 1 British GP

 

13th-16th July

Scottish Open Golf Championship

 

19th-23rd July

Ashes 4th Test

 

20th-23rd July

The 151st Open Championship

 

20th Jul-20th Aug

FIFA Women’s World Cup

 

27th-31st July

Ashes 5th Test

 

1st Aug

The Hundred 2023 commences

 

3rd-13th Aug

UCI World Cycling Championships

 

5th Aug

Wales v England Rugby Union

 

12 Aug

England v Wales Rugby Union

 

19th Aug

Wales v South Africa Rugby Union

 

25th Aug

New Zealand v South Africa Rugby Union

 

26th Aug

England v Fiji Rugby Union

 

27th Aug

The Hundred 2023 Finals

 

28th Aug-10th Sep

US Open Tennis

 

8th Sep-28th Oct

Rugby World Cup

 

29th Sep-1st Oct

Ryder Cup

 

5th Oct-19th Nov

ODI World Cup

“The annual sales uplift to the average pub for showing live sport is a whopping £83k, a return on investment of between x4 and x8.”

 

Fresh legs in September

Even as the summer begins to wind down, Greene King will be helping venues make the most of the sporting occasion by launching a rugby-themed limited edition cask ale available in September and October.

Fresh Legs Golden Ale is a 4% ABV ale with citrus, soft tropical fruit and fresh, dry hop notes to deliver a clean, easy drinking ale – ideal for the autumn rugby internationals.

Fresh Legs, like all limited-edition Fresh Cask Releases will be available in the smaller Cask Pins format to help you eliminate waste, maximise choice and optimise profits.

 

Want to up your game?

If you are keen to embrace the opportunity that showing sports in your venue can offer, Greene King is able to help you do just that through its tailored financing package solutions. Whether you are adding sports TV for the first time or ramping up your in-venue offer, perhaps with more screens, improved seating, introducing zoned areas or in any other way, Greene King can provide you with fast, cost-effective access to finance to help you make the very most of the opportunity.

Speak to your SDM to find out how we can help turn your vision into reality.