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The festive fixtures to ensure you won’t have any silent nights

How to draw in a crowd for those cracking Christmas clashes

Christmas is coming, the goose is looking a little on the plump side and there’s a huge schedule of festive sporting action for you to feast on.

But how do you ensure your customers pull themselves away from a six-pack on the sofa and re-runs of Only Fools and Horses and join you at the bar?

We caught up with a couple of licensees to get a word from the wise.


Know what’s on

Before you even attempt to get the attention of your customers you need to know what’s coming up, so here are a few highlights of what’s showing on BT Sport during the holiday season.


Premier League

Burnley v Spurs, Dec 23, 5.30pm

Manchester United v Southampton, Dec 30, 5.30pm

Crystal Palace v Man City, Dec 31, midday


The Emirates FA Cup


Norwich v Chelsea, Jan 6, 5.30pm

Notts Forest v Arsenal, Jan 7, 4pm

Brighton v Crystal Palace, Jan 8, 7.45pm



Kilmarnock v Rangers, Dec 23, 12.30pm

Dundee v Celtic, Dec 26, 12.30pm

St Mirren v Dundee Utd, Dec 29, 7.45pm


That’s the football, which for many is the only place to start.

Colin Woods, general manager of the Fox & Hounds, in Putney, London, says: “We are known as a sports venue and for us Christmas is football.  We are a place to come and catch those games over the holiday season.”


The Big Events

Having a selection box of games is good but there’s usually a favourite that many will want to grab. Game On Sports Lounge in Totton, Southampton, is expecting a cracking day of trading on December 30. The bar is based in the West Totton Centre which is also home to squash and badminton courts.



Licensee Godfrey Cook says: “We have got a squash tournament in the morning and the football fans will come in later. The 30th could be a quiet day if people are planning on going out on New Year’s Eve so this game really helps.

“You can get that lull period between Christmas and New Year where you really need your sport to bring people in. This game will do that”


There’s more to life than football

Both Game On and The Fox & Hounds will be providing variety to sports fans this Christmas.

Godfrey continues: “We have people who come in for different things. There are squash players, badminton players and people of different ages. If there is a tennis of squash tournament on we will show it.

“We will be showing some darts and American Football over the holiday period as well as the football.”

Colin has attracted an Australian community by sponsoring local Aussie Rules side Putney Magpies.

“They have become so important to us that when we had a recent refurb we put their logo on the wallpaper. It’s important to forge these links and we hope to see them over Christmas,” he says.


Other sporting events to keep in mind

Rugby Union:  Live AVIVA Premier League games on Dec 23, 24, 29, 30 and 31

Cricket:  Ashes Fourth Test Dec 26-30, Fifth Test Jan 3-7

Darts:  BDO World Championships, Jan 6-14


Let them know, let them know

You’ve seen what’s coming up over Christmas. Now you need to make sure your customers do too.

Godfrey has been honing his multimedia skills to spread the word.

“I promote what we are doing through social media and use an app called Ripple to make videos of the bar and fixtures that we put out through our channels. We also use a local Facebook page which has a big following and when we share on that our hits go through the roof.”

Colin also uses social and traditional media: “I’m still getting my head around Twitter, but Facebook is really important. We also have a newsletter we send out and a ‘what’s on’ board in the pub that tells people what’s coming up.”



Don’t forget the non-sport fans

The Fox & Hounds’ main attraction is live sport but it is also conscious of remaining welcoming to other groups. Colin does this by zoning the pub so it is appealing for those who want to watch matches and others who could be there for other reasons, such as a Christmas party.

Godfrey also welcomes all, but knows who his core customers are.

“We have had a few Christmas parties but we don’t do too many. It’s important to remember the people who come in every week and spend £40 and not just those that spend £30 once a year,” he adds.


For more fixture information, social media assets and information on ordering posters to promote games visit