New Year, Same Sporting Excitement
2016 promises to be the most exciting year of sport for many a year with the Premier League, the Champions League as well as Euro 2016 & the Olympics.
Sport, by its very nature, is an unpredictable beast. Even so, if you’d suggested at the start of the current Premier League season that rounding off 2015, reigning champions Chelsea would be in a relegation dogfight, while Leicester City would be the team to beat, the men in white coats would have been gently trying to calm you down.
Make no mistake; the current football season has been the most exciting in living memory. And it looks likely to remain that way until next May, which is great news for bar managers up and down the land. Sports fans relish the chance to soak up the unique atmosphere of their local while watching the action unfold on screen. So with 2016 shaping up to be another magical year of sport, now’s the time to be planning the forthcoming months of sports action in your bar.
With a host of matches to kick off the New Year, it’s worth checking out our comprehensive fixtures list in the Manager’s Office. You’ll also be able to let customers know what games you’re showing via our free Promo Kit.
BT Sport on your screen will get your regulars in well into the New Year. The FA Cup third round (held over the weekend of 8/9/10/11 January) sees the big boys of the Premier League and the Championship enter the fray. There are five all-Premier League ties, but the real magic of the cup can be found elsewhere. The Northern clubs monopolise BT Sport’s Premier League coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Arsenal the only Southern club playing midweek. You might want to have non-alcoholic options at the ready for the football fans observing “Dry January”.
On Saturday lunchtime (9 January), League Two Wycombe Wanderers take on Premier League strugglers Aston Villa exclusively live on BT Sport. Later that day Manchester United’s topsy-turvy campaign has another potential banana skin, when Louis van Gaal’s side host League One Sheffield United in a game only shown live on BT Sport. The following day, there could be another upset on the cards when Chelsea face Scunthorpe United at Stamford Bridge — BT Sport is again the only place to catch this game exclusively live.
February sees midweek European action crank back into gear. After another exhilarating group stage in which three English sides — Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City — made into the knockout stage, we’re now down to the nitty-gritty.
Many viewers are still adjusting to exclusive European coverage on BT Sport so keep on top of your social media. Activity on social media channels suggests that fans are still looking for bars that that show the Champions League. Ensure your voice is heard on Twitter, Facebook and co. Our unique Social Connect service can assist you in getting the most out of social media.
The Europa League also returns in February, with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur resuming their quest for Thursday night glory. They are joined by Manchester United in the last 32. With European football taking place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, you can plan your bar’s activities with real confidence.
BT Sport is the only channel showing all four major footballing competitions, the Premier League, the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup. Pub landlords see these tournaments as vital to their businesses: 80 per cent of landlords state that screening Champions League games increased trade — BT has the lot.
It’s not just football either. Rugby Union’s Aviva Premiership continues to thrill, while the concluding games of the European Rugby Champions Cup pool stage take place in January. BT Sport is your home for both. The return of the Six Nations in February will give you a chance to build on the interest shown during this year’s World Cup.
2016 in Sport
Looking further ahead, live sporting action will give your bar the chance to become the first port of call for the sports fanatics in your area. Football’s European Championships take place in France across June and July and with England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland all in action there’ll be plenty of interest across the country, particularly when England face Wales on 16 June. August will be dominated by the Rio Olympics.
If you thought sporting excitement in 2015 was good, 2016 is aiming for another level entirely. The opportunities for your bar are unending — in a season of manic unpredictability, this is a chance to make some concrete plans. Make sure you don’t miss this open goal.
2016 sporting calendar at a glance
January — May: FA Cup. The magic of the Cup returns for another season of upsets and high drama
January — May: Premier League. The most compelling campaign in memory has a number of twists and turns to navigate yet.
January — May: Rugby Union. The Aviva Premiership and the European Rugby Champions Cup run to a thrilling conclusion.
February — May: UEFA Champions League/Europa League. Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City will fly the flag for Britain in the Champions League. Can they — or Bayern Munich, Juventus, Real Madrid or Paris Saint Germain usurp Barcelona? Meanwhile, over in the Europa League Manchester United join Liverpool and Spurs.
June — July: Euro 2016. Europe’s best footballing nations battle it out in France. England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have all qualified.
August: Olympics. The Rio games will provide a final burst of summer excitement before the new football season kicks off and the merry-go-round begins again.