If the best defence is a good offence, then you’d better get aggressive with your promoting. Dive head first into the huddle this year with 10 of the most epic ways to promote your bar, pub or nightclub for the NFL Super Bowl.
Guess what’s coming up soon? Go on, have a guess. We mean, you might not get it because it’s pretty low-key - It’s had like, zero news coverage. We doubt you’ve even heard of it.
No wait, our mistake, it’s everywhere.
Everyone is losing their minds over this installment of the NFL Playoffs: The Super Bowl LI. We really do mean everyone. In fact, last year’s Super Bowl garnered the third highest viewership in history with an average of a 114.4 million people tuning in daily. What with the mighty Patriot vs. Falcon finale looming and everyone desperate to get to a TV screen, The Super Bowl can prove to be a pretty lucrative opportunity for those on the bar, pub and nightclub circuit - all it takes is a little imagination. If you can manage to tease sports fans away from their couches and get them onto yours, you could be looking at a serious surge in seasonal revenue. So, with this opportunity in sight, let’s take a look at some of the most effective promotion ideas to get sports fans down to your bar, pub or nightclub...
Just as you have pumpkin at Halloween and Thanksgiving, or turkey at Christmas, everyone knows that at a football game - you have beer. It’s like a rule, or commandment or something: ‘Thou shalt not watch the whole game in full focus,’ right? For a big occasion like The Super Bowl final, people want something a bit special. Make sure you’re really upping your beer offering, as Super Bowl Sunday sees Americans consume an astounding 325.5 million gallons of the stuff. This could mean advertising slightly larger, novelty servings provided in true stadium style, offering different varieties of craft beer or temporarily getting some new brews on tap, or even getting a few kegs in for effect. Something that feels celebratory, and incentivises your local beer fan to come by - adding something exclusive and ephemeral to the menu will do that. Rarity is what makes something valuable, so if you’re stocking a brand or variety you can’t get from a store nearby, you’re providing patrons with something exciting, whilst also staying true to the traditions of the event. Touchdown.
You should consider adding a few fun additions to the menu for the non-beer drinkers too, and The Super Bowl provides a fantastic opportunity to do so. Everyone’s heard of a ‘fishbowl’, but how about taking things one step further and offering your guests a ‘superbowl’. Having pitchers and sharer cocktails available give the event a playful quality which encourages people to have fun, and let loose. Have a play around with your backbar to see what you can whip up in the team colours using Blue Curacao or Grenadine. Not only will they look great, but patrons can show their support for their team by ordering somethings specific from the bar. Who needs a jersey when you’re clutching a delicious glass of your team colours, right? It also means patrons have the option of hiding their allegiance (by drinking from a solo cup perhaps), and then reveal it in photos by sticking out their tongue. See, fun!
It’s not all just about fun though - naming drinks after the teams (‘Patriot pitchers’/
French ‘Falcon 75’s’) or the players themselves will see a marked effect on their sales. Herd mentality can have a huge impact on our spending habits, so if not for the laugh, then for numbers!
Add some whimsy to the way you deck out your venue for the Super Bowl to give it an awesome USP. Perhaps split your venue down the middle and encourage patrons to side with their team colours, or (if you don’t go for team-tailored cocktails) add small amounts of food colouring to drinks at the bar as if you’re ceremonially announcing your team to the rest of the venue. It’ll be a bit like going to the bar is your version of a Super Bowl Sorting Hat. It is just as effective with coloured badges or beermats, sure, but this way at least gives it a touch more originality. Just make sure you’ve got security on hand to make sure everyone keeps things friendly.
Don’t forget to generate some excitement by dropping snaps of your fully decked out venue and colourful drink creations on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat to let people know what’s in store for them when they choose to spend The Super Bowl with you.
Presumably, you’ll already have a huge projector setup to screen the game on, so why not take advantage of your awesome set up and encourage people to come by for pre-game antics. Nabbing business for Super Bowl Sunday itself can be very tough, but it doesn’t mean that your seasonal promotions will go unnoticed on the lead up to the big day. Consider running compilation/highlight reels of the best Super Bowl moments over the years, interviews with players or pre-game predictions. Take the opportunity to get people pumped up before the final so that when SB Sunday does roll around, they’d be silly not to think of you because they had such a blast before.
Encourage your staff to have as much fun as they can, get into costume, ring a bell or let off a party poppers every time a touchdown is made.. Whatever you can think of to get the energy levels up and spirits high!
This one may sound like an obvious one, but we don’t actually mean what you think we do. What we automatically think of when we say ‘online’ with regards to a business is social media, right? Well, what we’re suggesting, is that you make sure that your Yelp! profile is bang up to date. By this we mean: filled with great quality photos, videos, links to other web content, recent prices and menu PDFs, feedback, testimonials etc. This is because you want to be represented well in the web searches approaching Super Bowl Sunday. After Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the 2nd largest US holiday for food-consumption so people will be looking for places to go. If you sell food at your bar/pub, great, say so! If not, don’t panic - use your Yelp! page to show them just what they could be missing by going elsewhere.
It’s also worth noting that you need to make sure your page tags include ‘sporting events’ for optimum search visibility. You could miss out on tonnes of business by having that box unchecked.
We know, it’s pretty novelty, but the fact remains that it does work. Now, we’re not implying that you sell out and become a Hooters for The Super Bowl, but we are saying that seasonal costuming will make for an eye-catching promotional event, and will draw tonnes of attention to your marketing efforts. Maybe you can ask some of your bar staff to flyer the general public in their cheerleading get-up, pom poms and all. Ask them to go out and make a stir in town, in the name of venue exposure.
Aside from asking your actual staff (which could cause a bit of a queue at the bar!) you might even get in touch with cheerleading teams from local universities or societies to see if they’re interested in doing a display. They’re often keen to up their following, and get in some practice before competitions so could provide some on-theme entertainment for you. There’s nothing more eye-catching than a quadruple somersault, that’s for sure. A word of warning though: if you do manage to get a uni cheerleading team involved in your SB event, do make sure to keep them away from the bar before their routine. You know, just to be safe. That could be lethal.
Get on board with the live video craze and use it to stream footage of the awesome atmosphere in your venue during the games leading up the final. You might want to capture some of the team cutting and sticking decorations in preparation, or your street team doing the rounds in costume with their leaflets. Perhaps offer a little sneak peak of your special menu, your super busy booking schedule or a few cheeky shots of the kitchen staff preparing some lovely looking grub. Use it to offer an insider’s view to the kind of night people will be getting by celebrating the big game with you. It’s all about generating a buzz so the lead up is very important - drip-feed small teasers for maximum effect. You can also reward the people that view your live content with promotional codes and discounts within the video. Just tell them to get ready to screenshot!
Probably the hardest part of Super Bowl promotion, is actually getting people to leave the comfort of their own home. A massive 50 million cases of beer is expected to be sold on Super Bowl Sunday for private parties and get togethers, so if you can’t beat them, then you may as well join them. Or at least provide for them. If you do bar nibbles, then consider putting together a Super Bowl package or promotion especially, and then publicise it like crazy. People are likely to part with a little bit more if it’s a special that’s only available once a year. What are you more likely to go for on a big occasion: The boring, average takeout or a special lunchbox tailored to the event? Exactly.
You could even consider bottling some of your branded Super Cocktails and making them available for purchase, or selling beer on by the case. Just make sure you offer hefty discounts to those that pre-order/book so that they have a really good reason to get in there early.
You want to encourage things that make the game more of an inclusive and fun experience, rather than just a normal day but with the tellie on. It’s probably a little late to run a full-on sweep stake, but there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly wager. We’re not talking gambling, obviously, but maybe have your patrons make a little prediction of the game results on their way through the door. Hand out tokens as people enter and ask them to write their name on it, then place it in a bin labelled either ‘Patriots’ or ‘Falcons’ - maybe even take a punt at guessing the score. At the end of the match, you can empty the winning bin and reward any guests that correctly anticipated the score.
In addition to wagers, you should also make sure that people are entertained pre and post game. You could do this by renting a couple of Foosball tables to make the venue seem as though you’ve staged a themed event especially. If you have time, you could even mock up something of a tournament, and have your compere to encourage people to sign up.
The hard work isn’t over just because you’ve managed to get people there! You need to make sure these people have the best, most engaging game experience of their life. Like we say, don’t just sling the game on and leave it at that- they could’ve done that anywhere. Get a compere to jump into action during ad breaks and keep them pumped, and chat to the crowds. If one of the teams get a touchdown, run a flash sale at the bar and offer discounts for a limited time. You could even use Twitter polls to ask your patrons questions during the game and have the compere feedback the responses on screen. This not only means you can interact with those at the venue, but shows everyone else that follows you what they’re missing out on.
Take the opportunity to really get imaginative with how you’re going to make spending the Super Bowl at your venue worthwhile. It might not help you market further this year, but it puts you in bloomin’ good stead for next year. ‘Where was that place we went to last time? That was loads of fun. Let’s do that again.’ Bingo.
With some careful thought, prep and a dash of imagination, you can make enjoying the Super Bowl at your venue a total no brainer. In fact, we’ll go further than that. If you do it that well, it could be the start of a tradition that sees regulars return year on year.
Speaking of traditions, we see that half-time entertainment is being provided by the one and only Lady Gaga this year. We’re very much looking forward to this one, as we’ve heard she’s already been asked to refrain from doing anything political, and just 2 weeks after one of the most controversial inaugurations ever, we wonder if the woman that once wore a dress made of red meat to an awards ceremony will have anything to say. Buckle up, y’all, this could get interesting.