| | Print
beer cheers sports bar

Marketing Your Pub To Sports FansPerhaps your pub or sports bar is already packed on game nights. If so, well done! You probably don’t need any further tips, but if you want to hear some ideas that you may not have thought of, read on!

Or maybe you are thinking that this doesn’t apply to you because your bar doesn’t have a high-def TV or your restaurant doesn’t serve food that is traditionally associated with stadium snacks. Untrue. Here are some ways that bars and restaurants are already making it work:

Play to Your Strengths on Game Days!

There are millions of sports fans in our country of all ages, genders and from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds – why would all of us who enjoy watching sports have the exact same taste in food or drinks? Even those of us who do enjoy a beer, some pizza, wings or nachos (and other “traditional” game day party foods) probably aren’t wanting to eat the same things during every game!  It doesn’t really matter what’s on your menu, you can find a way to do what you do best and then also promote it and run specials on game days!

For example, a hockey game and some chicken vindaloo sounds great together at India Pavilion.

And it’s surprising how many businesses with takeout and delivery options don’t offer promotions that line-up with sports schedules. People love to gather in a living room to watch a game or a match and often reach for the menus to order food. Don’t miss the opportunity to make their choice easier for them by having specials geared towards fans.

Not Your Average Joe’s recently ran a popular “game day special” that presented a new twist on traditional classic for NFL Home Game Days – A pizza and two appetizers for $19.99. A great deal that comes with options that are far from ordinary – with specialties like crabcakes, thai chicken lettuce wraps, edamame hummus amongst the appetizer choices and pizzas featuring unusual toppings like butternut squash or bacon.

Reach Out to All the Other Sports Fans

Expats and even American fans of the world-craze that is soccer (called football everywhere but here!) often have a difficult time finding pubs to watch their big matches and sometimes can’t even get them on their home cable roster. If you are a business that regularly shows sports and has a decent cable package, it isn’t difficult to add international games to your line-up. Because of the time difference, soccer matches often are on in the morning and midday – so why not show them if your business is open or expand your hours for special events.

The Tap Bar & Grill makes it clear right on their homepage, they feature 8 HD televisions showing major games “from American Baseball to Euro Futbol”.  And of course they offer specials during games along with regular happy hour.

The English Cellar Alehouse is Providence’s “home for all your soccer games”.

And they do mean ALL your soccer games. Fans can check their Facebook page to find out when to show up for American soccer, as well as the schedules for French and British Leagues. It’s likely to be a full house around there during the World Cup.

But there are a lot of big sports events outside of the mainstream of the SuperBowl and the World Series. It might be worth your time to brainstorm what other sports fans your business could provide a “home” for! The WNBA and other women’s professional sports are often televised at off-peak hours, but rarely are shown in sports bars. Make sure tennis fans know that you are the only spot in town showing the live broadcasts of Wimbledon. Championship title boxing matches are often big ticket events. And almost everybody loves to watch the Olympics!

Take it to Another Level

Sometimes there is a really great event, where a business seems to really embody the motto “Go big or go home!” Last month, The Real Deal Deli offered up a fantastic treat for sports fans, offering them a chance to meet the Boston Bruins’ Brad Marchand in person and get a signed t-shirt.

A deli is not normally a venue that most people would head to for any kind of sports event, but it’s likely that one of the hundreds of fans who lined up around the block at the Real Deal are now familiar with a great place to order wings, sandwiches or pizzas for the crowd at their house during playoffs this season.

So maybe not all businesses can go quite that big, but there are other ways your business can go beyond just sports viewing. Do you have space to display local sports historical memorabilia? Could a local team’s announcer host your usual trivia night or could you  have a contest with ticket giveaway.

So if you already run some sports-related events and promotions, there are many creative ways to branch out and step it up! If you haven’t yet considered sports fans, hopefully these examples inspired you to brainstorm some new ideas for your marketing playbook!

Written by   |  
As part of Upserve’s family of more than 10,000 restaurants, The Chef is Restaurant Insider’s secret weapon in the kitchen. As a restaurant expert in all things marketing, menu building, management, training and more, restaurateurs trust The Chef and the award-winning Restaurant Insider to dish out the ingredients needed to make your business a sweet success.