WHAT a year 2014 has been so far for football.
Shock results in the Scottish Cup, an English Premier League title race going down to the wire and an extra time wonder strike in the World Cup final – it doesn’t get any more dramatic than that.
For publicans, drama on the field can translate to money in the tills, and the broadcasters and brands that support the beautiful game say early preparation ahead of the new season is key if operators are to reap the rewards.
David Scott, director of brands and insight at Carlsberg UK, official beer of the English Premier League, said big sporting occasions bring people to the pub “largely because the atmosphere in a good sports pub is often the next best thing to being at the event itself”.
“Furthermore, consumers will spend more when the match is on,” said Scott.
“Our evaluation following big football tournaments reveals that average spend increases by 30% versus a non-sports occasion.”
Creating the right atmosphere is vital, said Scott, who advised publicans to ask themselves the following questions: “Have you checked all of the basics regarding sound and vision?
“Is there glare on any of the screens? Is the volume right?
“Are you helping to create an atmosphere akin to being at the game?
“Do you create a buzz pre-match with music and previous match footage to encourage consumers to arrive earlier and increase spend?”
Bruce Cuthbert of BT Sport agreed that publicans should do their bit to make sure customers have the best viewing experience.
“Ensure that you have the right size screen or enough screens for customers to be able to see and hear all of the action,” he said.
“If you have the space, give some thought to zoning so that customers not wanting to watch the match are unaffected.”
Cuthbert also reminded publicans to promote their football offer.
“There’s no point showing the big game if no one knows about it,” he added.
“We urge operators to make the most of social media to keep customers up to date with the latest screenings and offers.
“Facebook, Twitter and the like are so popular these days that they have become a vital advertising and marketing tool for any business.
“Operators should tailor offers around the game or sport that is being shown. For example, if you’re showing the Saturday 12.45pm Barclays Premier League game then put together a food and beverage offer that is easy to fulfil during the busy game time.”
Alison Dolan, deputy managing director at Sky Business, agreed that operators should publicise football events “well ahead of kick-off times” and make use of free point of sale materials provided by the broadcaster.
“Don’t just screen sports, create a great atmosphere,” said Dolan.
“Kit out your pub in match day colours, offer free half-time snacks and table service during a game and show the live build up before a game and a post-match event afterwards to keep them in for longer.
“Think of ways to encourage customers to stay with you after the final whistle. BBQs, live music and quizzes can be a great way to retain customers after the 90 minutes is over, as is advertising live sport that is showing after the game to encourage them to watch more great content in your venue.
“Make use of your free wi-fi with your Sky subscription by advertising internet access so fans know they can get online easily to share photos and videos and discuss the games via social media with their mates – it’ll add to their day while promoting your venue.”