How to take advantage of sporting events to boost your business

How Do Sporting Events Boost Trade in Pubs and Restaurants?

When thinking about sporting events and their effect on the hospitality industry, it can be easy to write it off as irrelevant. You may be thinking that sports events don’t affect your restaurant marketing in the slightest, but we’re here to argue that actually, they do...

Let’s take a look at one of the biggest talking points of summer 2018 (No, not Love Island!). The World Cup. While football didn’t officially come home, the World Cup certainly reignited the country’s passion for football, white shirts, and free kicks. Whether you followed the football or not, nobody can deny the effect it had all over England. Pubs were making live games a priority, even repurposing car parks and installing food stalls to draw in bigger crowds for game days. Shop windows became adorned with the England flag, restaurants happily took in hungry fans looking to fill up after an exciting match, and bars reaped the benefits of those looking to continue the celebrations (or drown their sorrows) into the night.

Image credit:

Image credit:

It goes without saying that bigger crowds mean more people eating, drinking, and spending money in your establishment, so naturally the question on everyone’s mind during last summer was “how do we draw in the biggest crowd possible?”. Restaurants, pubs, and bars jumped straight to social media to show off Love Island themed drinks, to promote World Cup competitions, and to let their followers know they would be opening their outdoor seating areas to accommodate the #heatwave.

Jumping on events and trends is a definite way to stay current, and for those getting into the spirit, sometimes Wimbledon’s strawberries and Champagne isn’t quite enough, with Hemingway’s bar going as far as laying down astroturf and adorning their windows with tennis balls and Wimbledon badges for their 2016 display, as shown below!

Image credit:  Lady Wimbledon

Image credit: Lady Wimbledon


With last summer being dominated by football, the ever-present Wimbledon, Love Island, and the glorious heatwave, it was all anyone was talking about on social media, and businesses in the food and drink sector saw this as an opportunity to draw in new a following. Take Boxpark in London for example, they installed a GoPro to record crowd reactions during the goals and they also ran competitions to give away 4 VIP tickets to their screening of the semi-final (plus 4 pints and 4 pies). The post got over 400 entries. That’s 400+ people who just suddenly became interested in eating, drinking, and watching football at Boxpark, all for the price of 4 pints and 4 pies. The GoPro stunt ensured that anyone who watched the games at their establishment came back to their social media channels over and over again to see if they’d been featured. But what do you do with all of that exposure? You promote your offers, you advertise your opening times, and you entice customers in with stunning photography of your food and your restaurant (or, you let Really Social do all of that for you!).

Summer 2018 may have been one for the history books, but 2019 promises to be just as memorable. We’re in the midst of an exciting Cricket World Cup, a showstopping and record-breaking Women’s World Cup, we’ve got Wimbledon on the doorstep, and the Rugby World Cup is coming up soon! 

It’s time to start thinking about how your business will be utilising these events to boost trade and draw in a new crowd over Summer 2019 and beyond.

For help getting your business noticed on social media, call us on 01733 806 404 or email to

Author: Shelby Paddison