BT Sport Scrums Down for Rugby
English fans might understandably beg to differ, but this year’s Rugby World Cup has been a resounding success.
There is life after the Rugby World Cup
English fans might understandably beg to differ, but this year’s Rugby World Cup has been a resounding success. Granted, the host nation not making it out of the group stages wasn’t in the script, and analysts estimate England’s early exit will cost the pub industry millions in lost revenue, but this just demonstrates the appetite for the game.
Interest in the sport has soared over the past month thanks to a scintillating mix of amazing on-the-field action and countless talking points off it. And if proof were needed that the sport had captured the imagination of the general public, nearly 12m viewers tuned in to watch Wales come from behind to beat England in one of the competition’s most memorable matches.
And while there’s still the excitement of the knockout stages to look forward to – beginning with the quarter finals this weekend, where Ireland, Scotland and Wales are all playing, and culminating with the final on October 31 – thoughts are already turning to what happens after the last scrum. After six weeks in the spotlight, how can bar managers capitalise on the game’s raised awareness?
Get your money’s worth
Handily, England’s elite domestic league, the Aviva Premiership, returns this weekend for another seven months of competitive action. And as an enticement for all your rugby-loving regulars, BT Sport is the home of the Aviva Premiership. It is the only channel screening live action between now and next May, with 69 exclusively live matches.
The lost revenue attributed to England’s premature departure mentioned above is also partly due to viewers watching at home on free-to-air TV. The Aviva Premiership is not on free-to-air. So unless fans have a BT Sport subscription on their telly, bars and pubs will be the logical place to watch all the games.
Many of the stars of the World Cup will also be in combat when European rugby’s premier club competition, the European Champions Cup, kicks off on November 13. Previously known as the Heineken Cup, this is rugby’s equivalent of the Champions League and sees the top clubs from France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy and of course England duke it out. This will be a chance to see the likes of Welsh captain Sam Warburton, the scourge of England, Dan Biggar, Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton, South African legend Bryan Habana, French star Morgan Parra and Australian lynchpin Matt Giteau.
Popular weekend action
As with football, live games tend to follow a regular pattern. There is generally one live match every Friday night at 7.45pm – kicking off with last year’s league winners Northampton Saints away to newly-promoted Worcester Warriors this week – two live games on a Saturday, and a final game on Sunday at 3.15pm. The Friday evening and Saturday games will not clash with any live Premier League football so this creates an opportunity for additional live sport in your bar. Keep abreast of the games with this regularly updated fixture list.
Rugby union is now a nationwide sport. No longer solely the preserve of the public school system significant inroads have been made in widening the appeal of the game and raising participation – particularly at grassroots level. Women are increasingly coming on board too. Boosted by England’s World Cup success last year, the number of females registered to play has increased by 20 per cent to 18,000*.
Clearly, the World Cup will also have converted new fans. Those looking to follow England’s domestic league can only do so by watching BT Sport. This is undoubtedly a chance for bar managers to swell the numbers coming to watch sport through their doors.
Over in your dedicated customer zone, the Manager’s Office, there are numerous handy tips – from using social media to getting free BT Sport banners – to help you in getting the most out of your package and enable your pub to become the local hub for sports fans. Head over to Promo Kit to get everything you need.
For more details on the live Premiership rugby shown on BT Sport, click here.