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.
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
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
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