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Hit The Bar: The Sport is Back

The return of association football and the new rugby union season means big opportunities for bar managers up and down the country. Find out when the big games are on & how to make the most of the 16/17 campaign.

Zlatan scores for Man United

Sunshine putting its hat away means only one thing around these parts — the return of association football and the new rugby union season. And this embarrassment of sporting riches is enough to banish any thoughts of autumn blues.


For bar managers up and down the country this means opportunities galore. Sports fans are a demanding bunch. They want a consistent and quality service when they watch all the best sporting action in their local. Get it right and you’ve got a ready-made set of regulars for the next 10 months and beyond.


First up, of course, is the new football season. After last year’s wealth of shocks — Leicester City winning the Premier League after starting the season at 5,000-1; Chelsea sacking title-winning boss Jose Mourinho before Christmas; Manchester United ignoring over a century-worth of attacking footballing principles — the new campaign is the most eagerly anticipated in living memory.




Can loveable Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri repeat the impossible? And with new managers in place at Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United — hello Antonio and Pep; welcome back, José — can they topple last year’s top three of Leicester, Arsenal and Spurs? Add in Jürgen Klopp’s rebuilding job at Liverpool, plus Ronald Koeman taking over at Everton and the race for this year’s title could be the most open in Premier League history.


Elsewhere, West Ham United have moved to a new home, the league sees Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull City return from breaks in the Championship and Crystal Palace can now bid over £30m for Christian Benteke. Man City start out as marginal favourites but it really feels that anything could happen — compulsive viewing for sure.




A new season also means a new kick-off time for BT Sport’s Premier League fixtures. BT Sport will now screen Saturday evening’s 5.30pm game – a move that has been widely greeted by fans. First up: Pep Guardiola’s first competitive game in charge of Manchester City at home to Sunderland.


In Europe, the UK starts out with 11 teams across the Champions League and Europa League. Leicester City, Arsenal and Spurs are all safely in the draw for the Champions League where Man City and Celtic will hope to join them after the play-off round. After their shock win against BATE Borisov in the Third Qualifying Round, Irish side Dundalk will hope to get past Legia Warsaw and make it into the Champions League group stage. Either way, Celtic, City and Dundalk are guaranteed European football until Christmas as the losers of the play-off round enter the Europa League.


Speaking of which, Manchester United, Southampton and, hopefully, West Ham United will fly the flag for Britain on Thursday nights.




Come September 13, there will be regular midweek games on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays as the stars of European football – Messi, Ronaldo, Griezmann, Pogba, Neymar and Vardy – vie for the greatest prizes in the club game.


The new rugby union season touches down in September. Again, BT Sport is the exclusive home for all of the action in the Aviva Premiership. Can Saracens — all conquering in 2015/16 — make it a hat-trick of Premiership titles and retain their European Rugby Champions Cup crown? Or can Exeter Chiefs maintain their dramatic rise? These questions, and more, will be answered on BT Sport over the coming months. With games shown live on Friday nights and Saturday and Sunday afternoons there are plenty of chances to get rugby supporters through your doors.




Over the coming months we will be posting regular articles outlining the latest trends in screening sport in pubs/bars/clubs — from choosing the right TV to making the most of social media — our articles will hopefully form a handy checklist to ensure that you get the most out of your BT Sport subscription. Follow us on Twitter — @BTSportBars — where we constantly announce new fixtures first and look out for our emails that will include updated fixture lists and links to promo kits.


A little planning now will go a long way this season. It’s time to get onboard.


Click here to get your free promo kits.


Key dates at a glance



Premier League

August 13: Premier League: Manchester City v Sunderland

August 20: Premier League: Leicester City v Arsenal

August 27: Premier League: Hull City v Manchester United

September 10: Premier League: Liverpool v Leicester City

September 17: Premier League: Everton v Middlesbrough

September 18: Premier League: Watford v Manchester United

September 24: Premier League: Arsenal v Chelsea


UEFA Champions League

August 16: Steaua Bucharest v Manchester City

August 17: Celtic v Hapoel Beer Sheva

August 17: Dundalk v Legia Warsaw

August 23: Hapoel Beer Sheva v Celtic

August 23: Legia Warsaw v Dundalk

August 24: Manchester City v Steaua Bucharest

September 13-14: Matchday One

September 27-28: Matchday Two

October 18-19:  Matchday Three

November 1-2:  Matchday Four

November 22-23: Matchday Five

December 6-7:  Matchday Six


UEFA Europa League

August 18: Astra Giurgiu v West Ham United

August 25: West Ham United v Astra Giurgiu

September 15:  Matchday One

September 29:  Matchday Two

October 20:  Matchday Three

November 3:  Matchday Four

November 24:  Matchday Five

December 8:  Matchday Six



September 4: World Cup Qualifying: Slovakia v England

October 8: World Cup Qualifying: England v Malta

October 11: World Cup Qualifying: Slovenia v England

November 11: World Cup Qualifying: England v Scotland



Rugby Union

Aviva Premiership

September 2: Aviva Premiership: Gloucester Rugby v Leicester Tigers

September 3: Aviva Premiership: Saracens v Worcester Warriors 

September 3: Aviva Premiership: Harlequins v Bristol Rugby 

September 4: Aviva Premiership: Wasps v Exeter Chiefs

September 9: Aviva Premiership: Worcester Warriors v Gloucester Rugby

September 10: Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers v Wasps

September 11: Aviva Premiership: Exeter Chiefs v Saracens

September 16: Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks v Gloucester Rugby

September 17: Aviva Premiership: Saracens v Northampton Saints

September 18: Aviva Premiership: Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers

September 23: Aviva Premiership: Bristol Rugby v Exeter Chiefs 

September 24: Aviva Premiership: Northampton Saints v Wasps

September 25: Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers v Bath Rugby

September 30: Aviva Premiership: Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs

October 1: Aviva Premiership: Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby

October 2: Aviva Premiership: Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons

October 7: Aviva Premiership: Bath Rugby v Sale Sharks

October 8: Aviva Premiership: Harlequins v Northampton Saints

October 9: Aviva Premiership: Saracens v Wasps

October 28: Aviva Premiership: Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby

October 29: Aviva Premiership: Saracens v Leicester Tigers

October 30: Aviva Premiership: Exeter Chiefs v Bath Rugby

November 18: Aviva Premiership: Bath Rugby v Bristol Rugby

November 20: Aviva Premiership: Sale Sharks v Saracens

November 20: Aviva Premiership: Leicester Tigers v Harlequins


Full fixture list here