There is everything to play for as our hero teams step out on to their respective pitches. But while they have their work cut out, so too do clubs, as thousands of licensed premises compete for the hearts, minds and wallets of fans country-wide. Are you prepared for the fray?
Major sporting events present exciting opportunities for clubs to draw in nonregulars, lapsed members and guests. Sports clubs, quite naturally, have the advantage, as members are already conditioned to their visits having a sporting bent. But major sporting events always present clubs with a sporting chance to score heavily on the bottom line. Customers are confronted daily with offers and deals at their local pubs and bars, so promotions centred around subsidised drinks prices are not enough. Your proposition will, of course, match or better these, so play on the other factors which can provide the competitive edge – a safe, members-and-guests-only environment and a raft of add-ons to enhance the viewing experience.
Marketing matters - Clearly communicate the date and start times. Place banners, signs and posters at strategic points around the club, and make use of materials available from suppliers.
Guest players - Don’t forget to bring the word-of mouth tactic into play. Ask members to spread the word, and invite them to draw in guests for the activities.
Hi tech, hi performance - The quality of screens should rank highly on any check list. Funds permitting, now could be the time to invest in a new system Or consider screening sports alfresco on all-weather screens to recreate an on-the-terraces atmosphere.
Dressing the bar - With the plethora of bunting, banners and POS material available from suppliers surrounding various sporting events, clubs can dress the bar – and bar staff – to reflect the excitement of the matches.
Food glorious food - Providing snacks before the match starts, at half time and during the last quarter of the game will keep spectators’ stomachs replete. They’re then more likely to stay for the classic postmatch activities – bemoaning the standard of linesmen (we lost) or celebrating the insightful referee (we won).
All bar none - Obvious advice, but category management is key. Move best sellers to the front of the fridge, and consider offering ‘all-in’ deals, such as jugs of beer, buy one get one free, free hot dog with every four pints and so on. Tactical top ups during the last 10 minutes of the game will help to keep members in the club longer. And don’t forget the soft drinks for members who are driving, need to return to work in peak fitness, or who simply prefer them.
Speedy service - No one wants to miss the action while they queue at a busy bar for the next round. Table service can help here if you have the staff to spare. Or take a tip from theatre land and invite members to pre-order before the action starts. Look at spill-free trays, four pint jugs and bottle-seller bags to speed up service.
The team Staff on the ball? Bring them on side and brief them thoroughly. What’s being screened and when?
Post match magic - Don’t let the final whistle herald the end of the event. Having worked to build the atmosphere, keep it going once the screen is turned off. Run a question and answer session on the game just witnessed, for example. Competitions and quizzes will separate the men from the boys, and - if you want to go there - check out who really understands the off-side rule!