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The Importance of Live Sport in Pubs and Bars

The Importance of Live Sport in Pubs and Bars

Written by

Chris Turner

Published

May 14, 2024

Category

Latest research

Live sport is at the heart of many memorable pub experiences. But why is it so important?

Live sport has played a pivotal role in many pubs for decades; the friendly banter, the edge-of-your-seat moments, the roar of cheers and smug commiserations. And despite the many challenges the hospitality industry is facing, there is a clear appetite for live sport in pubs. An estimated 8.5 million British consumers having watched games while out in the last six months, 89% are more likely to revisit a venue if they know matches are screened, and their average monthly spend on eating and drinking out is 36% higher than those who don’t visit pubs and bars to watch sport.

Sport in these venues is about more than just viewership - it fosters a sense of belonging, excitement, and shared emotion that is difficult to replicate elsewhere. That’s why we launched Startle Arena.

Let’s take a look at the importance of live sports in pubs and bars. 

The Social Hub

Pubs and bars have long served as social hubs where people come together to unwind, socialise, and celebrate. The addition of live sports supports this communal experience. 

Whether it's cheering (or crying) for a local team or rallying behind a favourite athlete, the shared passion for sports unites patrons in a way that bridges differences and forges connections. Strangers become friends, and regulars become part of a larger sporting community.

Escape and Entertainment

Live sport is a form of entertainment that goes beyond passive viewing. In a pub or bar setting, the cheers, groans, and collective reactions to pivotal moments create an immersive experience that heightens emotions.

The thrill of a last-minute goal or a game-winning shot can electrify an entire room, transforming the space into a vibrant arena of excitement and anticipation.

Cultural Identity

For many communities, sports hold deep cultural significance. Supporting a local team or following a national sporting event becomes a shared expression of identity and pride. 

Pubs and bars become venues where this collective identity is celebrated and reaffirmed. Whether it's a hometown rivalry or an international tournament, these events evoke a sense of belonging and tradition that resonates with patrons.

The Business of Experience

From a business perspective, live sport can be a huge tool for pubs and bars. They attract diverse crowds, enhance customer engagement, and prolong visits. Sports events provide a reliable draw that encourages repeat custom, especially during key games or tournaments. 

Embracing Diversity

Live sports have the ability to bring together people from various backgrounds and interests. In a pub or bar showing a game, you can find individuals of different ages, genders, and professions, all united by a shared enthusiasm for sports. This diversity enriches the social fabric of these establishments, fostering inclusivity and breaking down barriers.

The Thrill of the Moment

What’s the main difference between watching a match in a pub to watching it at home by yourself? The energy of collective experience. 52% of people that regularly watch live sport stated that their main reason for visiting a pub to watch sport was because of a better atmosphere.The thrill of witnessing pivotal moments—whether it's a championship victory or an underdog triumph—becomes amplified when you’re with other fans. These shared memories linger long after the final whistle. 

The ability to witness sporting events in real-time, surrounded by like-minded individuals, taps into something fundamental about human connection and community. It's not just about watching a game; it's about being part of something bigger—a shared journey of emotion, camaraderie, and celebration.

In essence, the importance of live sports in pubs and bars extends far beyond entertainment; it embodies the essence of social interaction, cultural expression, and collective experience. As these pubs and bars continue to evolve, one thing remains certain: the magic of live sports will continue to unite and inspire us, one game at a time.

Startle Arena

Keeping on top of promoting sports fixtures - updating assets, printing, assembling, taking down, repeat - and extending the entertainment beyond a 90-minute match requires a lot of time and energy, and we all know pub managers are busy enough.

To tap into the opportunities live sport provides to pubs and bars you need a platform that takes care of your promotions, automatically updating with fresh, relevant content that’s customised to the pub’s location. Startle Arena was designed to do just that.

Ready to up your game? Find out more here.

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The Importance of Live Sport in Pubs and Bars

Chris Turner

Account Director at Startle. It's my job to look after customers and offer advice on how brands can enhance their customer experience using integrated music and technology. Often found eating, drinking and shopping (all in the name of research) in our customer's locations.

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