Attracting customers

Five Ways to Boost Your Pub Business With Sports Events

24 April 2018
3 minute read

Alex Woods

Summertime can be the perfect season to host sports screenings and events. And this year is no exception, especially with the likes of the FIFA World Cup, Wimbledon and Tour de France taking place. As many games and events are shown on cable channels or a pay-per-view basis (which many don’t have access to at home), pub owners should use this to their advantage and provide punters with the ideal environment to watch their favourite sports!

In fact, recent research found that a quarter of consumers are visiting pubs to watch live sport, with 20% watching a fixture a week, and a further 20% doing so two or three times a month.

With this in mind here are a few tips to help you make your pub sports event a success:

Research Fixtures & Create a Schedule

As with any event, you’ll need to get a schedule in place and plan out what you’ll be showing and when. It’s not always cost-effective or beneficial to business to show every single event, so instead carefully select the games that you think will be most popular, have been requested by your customers or that you know your competitors aren’t showing.

Once this has been decided, you can draw up a schedule and start telling people about it.

Spread the Word

As you’ll likely be running a series of events, it’s important that to keep on top of marketing them! Once one sporting event has finished, advertise for the next one straight away so customers know when the next screening is. You can do this by making use of offline marketing - whether this means creating flyers and posters, or using chalk boards to spread the word. Make sure to have a full calendar of events up on your website or by the bar too.

You should also use your website and social media channels to reach customers further afield. As well as stating the time and place of the event, include other details such as what time food and drink will be served, how to book a table, and any offers or promotions that will be going on. Don’t forget to keep posting pictures of your previous events on social media too!

Offers and Promotions

Hosting your own events creates the perfect opportunity to offer promotions.You could consider offering 2-for-1 on certain bottles of beer or special deals for groups - such as buckets of beer and sharing platters of food. You could also run a happy hour after the event has finished to keep your customers on site. To help with demand, you could also consider reaching out to local drinks companies or breweries to see if they have any offers or promotions of their own that could help you out.

To add to the sporting spirit you could also arrange competitions and giveaways based on the event. Whether this is centred around predictions of who will win certain games or how many goals will be scored, this is a chance to inject lots of fun into your event while drawing in more punters!

Set Up

Getting everything set up properly in preparation for your event can save you a lot of hassle and help to avoid any problems on the day. One of the first things you’ll need to think about is where you want to put your screens. Of course, they’ll need to be easily viewable, but without the risk of congestion or overcrowding in certain areas. This may mean rearranging your current layout and furniture to make extra space for everyone.

Whether you’re hiring screens and sound equipment or buying them in, it’s worth investing in quality rather than the cheapest possible option. You are likely to be competing with other pubs so if punters know that the sound and image quality are up to scratch, there’s a higher chance that you’ll get more people through the door. You’ll also need to test all of your equipment well before your event to account for any technical hitches.

Account for New Behaviours

With these type of events, may need to consider adjusting to different behaviours too. For example, catering for multiple large groups. This means making it easy for customers to reserve big tables or areas, and offering sharing platters or a wider range of bar snacks.

Customers will also be more likely to stay in the pub for a set duration. This means being prepared for super busy peaks just before the event, at half time and straight after the event has finished. The solution may be to put on more staff or make sure you have contactless payments set up so that the transaction process is faster and easier!

And last, but definitely not least, make sure you have a TV licence in place and have subscribed to the correct channels and packages to show your event!

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