Before I even get started on this, I want to make it clear that I am not a football fan. (Better yet I am not a Colts fan.) I do not play Fantasy Football, watch it on television (except for on Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl), and I do not go to games. I live a half an hour away from one of the newest and more talked about stadiums in the National Football League and I have never stepped inside. I have no interest in a bunch of over weight men dressed in tights slamming into each other trying to make their way down a field. I understand, however, that there is strategy and athleticism involved, but it is just not the sport for me.
But, just because I do not follow the sport does not mean I can not make mention to it. I do know a little bit about the game and I have a general understanding of the rules. But I want to look at the sport from a different perspective with you here today. I want to look at it from the eyes of a sports bar.
On Sunday, when the majority of football games are played, I dare you to walk into any given sports bar and not see big screens plastered all over the place showing any number of games that happen to be on television at that given time. There is even a network dedicated to the NFL and guarantees that you never miss a play. (It is over $100 a month for this channel alone. It is meant for the die hard fans of football.) But outside of just throwing the game on the wall I have compiled a list of things that each sports bar should consider when thinking about showing all these sporting events. If a bar takes the time to put in a little extra effort into their presentation and to prepare for these 16 or so Sundays, then they might just see an increase in traffic and higher sales at the end of the day.
1. A dedicated sound and video “guy”
This is crucial. The whole point of most of these fans coming to your bar is to see and hear the game. They want to see it in high definition and hear the announcers on every play. With that being said, you need to have someone that is dedicated to this aspect and this aspect only. I have seen cases where the bartender or any given server would have control over the audio and visual work, but that will just not cut it if you are trying to make a name for yourself in the Sunday football market. If you have the finances (and pay a guy in food and beer if you do not) to have this sort of an employee present, I highly suggest it. I can not tell you how many times I go to a bar and I hear music in between every commercial. Maybe I wanted to hear those commercials. That is the only reason I watch the Super Bowl. So maybe I want to see them on Sunday afternoon too. A dedicated audio visual guy might not get much more than a simple thank you, and sometimes not even that, but your patrons will take notice and that might just be the reason they come back to your bar next Sunday.
2. Food and drink specials
This is something you should be doing everyday anyway, but especially on Sunday. Your bar needs to have food and drink specials from the time your doors open until the last drunk stumbles to the parking lot. Obvious things to have on special are draft beer, wings, and pizza. I do not know very many guys that watch football who are sipping martinis and eating a bowl of soup. They want their Coors Light and MGD by the gallon. Wings are also another great idea. A bar here in my home town was doing ten cent wings on Wednesday night. You would be shocked at how many people would line up just to get a chance to have some cheap wings. I did and they were actually pretty good. So if I come into your bar and you have cheap food and drinks you can be sure I am going to tell all my friends about it.
3. Offer free wi-fi
This is something that I desire everywhere I go, whether it is a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, or other. Wi-fi is something that is sweeping our nation and the faster speeds get and the cheaper it becomes to connect at 3 and 4 G speeds the more people use and the more we want it. iPhone users, who are now the number one smart phone user in the market, are wanting to connect to wi-fi everywhere we go. The, look at me, always carrying my laptop around. I can not tell you how much more work I get done sitting in a bar having a beverage than I do at home watching TV. So if I can be social, be in the bar, eat those cheap wings, and drink that cheap beer, all the while working on my computer, I am a happy camper.
But it is not just enough to have it. It needs to be free and it needs to be reliable. And, obviously, it needs to be fast. I cannot tell you how angry I get when I walk into a place that claims to have free wi-fi and I either one, have to ask for a password, or two, it is slow and continuously times out. So until Google decides to give the entire United States free wi-fi you need to step it up and provide it for us. The return will be way more than the investment.
4. No kids
This goes without saying for most bars, but do not allow children. There is nothing more aggravating than trying to focus on a game, or on dinner, or a drink, or what have you and having to listen to that kid in the booth next to you scream, cry, and throw a fit every ten seconds. A lot of guys leave home on Sunday as it is their only day away from the house. They work all week and can spend Sunday watching TV, drinking a beer, and not feeling a bit guilty about it. So leave the kids at home, and make sure you have a 21+ sign on your door. You will retain more patrons that way. I can almost guarantee it.
5. What games are where
This one is not as obvious as some of the other ones might be, but there are a lot of teams in the NFL. Most teams play every single week and on a variety of channels and not everyone is rooting for the same team. If you have a clear cut policy on what channels will be on what televisions then you will one, be able to separate the Colts fans from the Bears fan, but also will look more organized and consistent. Have a sheet of paper on each table that explains what games are playing on what TVs and the times for each game. If you put some effort into your Sunday seating and television selection you will one, have fewer people angry that their game is on a TV on the other side of the bar, and two will look like a more professional and organized establishment.
If you are a bar that shows football games on Sunday, take a look into these rules. You might be surprised when one might generate not only more income for your pocket but also more report (the T is silent) with your guests. Let me tell you, nothing beats a happy Bears fan after a win on Sunday.