The 99th season of the NFL starts this week, with 32 teams aiming for their spot at Superbowl LIII in Atlanta on 3rd February 2019. While American Football still doesn’t come close to the popularity of regular football in Britain, it definitely shouldn’t be ignored as a great opportunity for pubs. We’ve highlighted 3 key reasons that you should be showing the NFL all year and not just cash in on the Superbowl.
American Football Is the Fastest Growing Sport Behind Boxing
Long gone are the days that Brits only take an interest in NFL an hour before the Superbowl each year. Partly due to the 10+ years of the international series of games in London and partly due to the accessibility of watching the NFL on the internet, there’s now a strong base of over 3 million fans in the UK. To put that into context, over the last 3 years only boxing has seen a bigger growth in fan searches for fixtures on MatchPint. American Football is currently the 4th most searched sport on MatchPint by event, only behind boxing, football and rugby union.
MatchPint data shows that the Superbowl drives a 39% value uplift, with the average pub making £1,130 in incremental revenue. However, MatchPint data also shows that 93% of sports fans will go back to a pub they’ve previously visited, so if you want to maximise that incremental revenue, you need to be seen to be serious about American Football all season, rather than just trying to cash in on the biggest event come February.
What Else Are You Doing Between 6pm & Midnight on a Sunday?
Sunday’s and Football are as sacred a combination in the US as they are over here, and due to the time difference it works perfectly for UK audiences. With Premier League football never going any later than 6pm on a Sunday, NFL games traditionally start at 6pm and run until midnight. This means that it clashes with no other live sport and is the perfect follow up to keep the crowd in from the Super Sunday fixtures at least another 3 hours for the first game.
MatchPint and CGA found that there’s already a dedicated base of NFL fans that go to the pub to watch it already, though. These fans go more often than football fans (56% go at least once a week vs 48% football fans) and spend £3.80 more per visit than football fans (£33 vs £29). The data also found that the fan base is much younger than traditional sports fans, with 17% of 18-34 year olds saying they’d watch American Football in the pub. Considering it’s on at a time that doesn’t clash with any other major events, why aren’t you making your pub the go-to place for these fans?
A Truly Incremental Drinks & Food Opportunity
For those pubs that offer food, it should be an absolute no brainer to offer some sort of NFL menu. American style foods such as burgers, hot dogs, pizzas and nachos go hand in hand with the 3 hour long games and should be used as another hook to keep those Super Sunday customers in the pub too.
As Sunday evenings are traditionally quiet due to the working week beginning again on Monday morning, offering bucket deals on light beers (Bud Light/Coors Light) is a good middle ground to stop people from watching on the sofa at home. Remember, the sofa is still the pub’s biggest competition when it comes to watching sport. Mixing up the beer bucket deal to be more of a loyalty offer (free bucket on your 6th Sunday Night Football, for example) can really help drive that loyalty of a truly hardcore group of valuable fans.
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