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It’s one of the most famous sporting events in the world and for a month this summer, you can create fantastic opportunities for your business that only come round once every four years. The pub is a natural hub for watching live sport with its unique atmosphere and camaraderie. Read on for our top tips on how to get your pub ready for the 2018 World Cup.
With any big event, knowing the key dates is always a good place to start. In 2018, the World Cup begins on the 14th June, and the final is being held on the 15th July. With 64 matches in total, there are plenty of opportunities to capitalise on this popular sporting event.
With the host country being Russia, be aware of the several time differences the country has. Start times will vary from match to match; in the UK, the set kick-off times are 1 pm, 4 pm and 7 pm. Don’t forget that most coverage will start half an hour before the match for the pundit commentary and predictions, so make sure your screens are showing the programmes early, so as a pub operator, you can make the most of the build-up.
England is the only home nation participating this time round so their group games will be crucial matches to promote; they begin their campaign against Tunisia on June 18th at 7 pm UK time.
It’s essential that you plan and keep ahead of the draw. Target specific fixtures which you think will prove the busiest. Feature them on chalkboards and posters to help you get information out to your customers well in advance. If there are multiple venues for customers to choose, make sure you are in mind as early as possible.
Get instant information out to your customers through your social media channels as well. Share live stories throughout the period to capture the atmosphere of your pub in full flow during matches. The fantastic environment and spirit your pub creates is one that your customers won’t be able to replicate at home.
Time spent in pubs can increase through this period with the average customer stay lengthening. Think of a standard 90-minute football match, and then take into account the possibility of it going to extra time; that’s another half hour. Plus, if it goes the distance to penalties, you’ll have even more bonus time. All in all, you’re looking at a good three hours of customer interaction and trade so think about what you can offer to keep your customers engaged with your pub as well as the football.
Make sure you have your own football team on shift on busy match days, with perhaps a smaller team of subs on hand for rotation. Encourage team spirit as this will only make your pub run smoother and more efficiently. Why not have an extra bit of fun by having a sweepstake with your team to see who’ll be triumphant at the end. The prize could be as simple as a free pint, but you can make it as creative as you want!
Halftime is always a great chance to increase your pub’s income. In the fifteen minute break, it’s important to keep the momentum of the game’s energy and atmosphere up. Make it a time to chat with your customers, and why not introduce snacks? Try to keep the football theme going with pies, hotdogs, chips and so on. Quick and convenient food is best so customers can settle back down for that all-important second half.
The level of decoration is up to you. Go big with flags, footballs or fake AstroTurf placemats and coasters. Alternatively, keep it simple with a dedicated chalkboard for match scores and the draw. It’ll keep everyone up to date and be the ultimate wallchart for your customers.
Your furniture layout can be a game changer in terms of atmosphere. Having few chairs and open spaces will allow for a more energetic standing feel. The introduction of tables interspersed throughout your seating will provide a more relaxed laid back feel where your customers can chat and watch together.
Television coverage is essential so try to have multiple screens around the pub to make the viewing experience more accessible. Also, make sure you have the specific rights to show the matches whether it’s on BT or Sky. Don’t forget about having a crystal clear sound system which can provide a realistic experience of the game; the commentary is a bonus of televised football so make it easy for fans to hear.
Also with the introduction of VAR (video assistant referee) expect slow-motion replays and consultations of every tackle and ‘did it cross the line’ goals to add debate and scrutiny to the already electric atmosphere.
Not everyone is a football fanatic or interested in how the tournament is progressing so a ‘football free zone’ can be another tactic to employ. Simply designate areas where customers don’t have to have ‘football fever’. Contrast with bigger furniture such as sofas and easy armchairs to give that clear distinction. It’s a way to avoid isolating other customers and can be an attractive approach during this heavy football focus month.
It’s a rare month that can be extra special for your pub when it’s kick off time. Get your pub ready for the 2018 World Cup and you could score high returns.
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