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Rugby v Football: Who’s best at the bar?

Which sports fans put the biggest smile on your face and the most cash in your tills – and can you keep them both happy?

Rugby v Football. There’s something of Oasis v Blur about this debate. And we are not talking in terms of class or size of audience here.

Sure, you can like both, but at some stage you’ve got to make a choice. Which one are you?

Maybe it’s the reported extra generosity of rugby fans that attracts you. According to pub finder app MatchPint rugby fans spend 15 minutes longer in the bar, which is more than enough time for a yard of ale and some questionable singing.

Or maybe it’s the sheer numbers of football fans that keeps the cash rolling in for you.

Clearly for pubs there’s a decision to be made. Can you provide for both sets of supporters? If you’ve only got one telly and a fixture clash who gets what they want? Can the fans mix merrily in the bar?

Answering all those questions is way too much for us, so we whacked on Wonderwall and concentrated on one… who’s the most generous at the bar? Football fans or rugby fans.

That’s that settled then. The people have spoken and at the end of the day football is the winner.

Apart from the fact that only 65 people have spoken, which frankly isn’t quite as representative as we would have liked. Plus, we have a sneaky feeling a fair few of those votes were encouraged by couple of football pubs we know quite well.  See…

Still, that gives football an early lead. 1-0. Or, for those more familiar with rugby, let’s go with 7-0.

Stage two. Ask the people in the know. Here’s what some sports-mad licensees had to say on the subject.


Stuart Green, The Cabbage Patch, Twickenham

The amateur detectives among you may have deduced that, due to its location, The Cabbage Patch tends to attract a rugby crowd. The pub is not averse to screening the round-ball game but long-term GM Stuart knows which side his bread is buttered on.

He says: “With rugby we tend to get all fans of the game in, whereas with football it is more fans watching their team. We also find with rugby that they tend to make a day of it, having a drink before, during and after the game. They drink more but they know how to behave themselves.

“We don’t have a home football team as such so it is different but we show it and there’s no problem having both on. You get good-natured banter between rugby and football fans.

“In terms of generosity we always have a charity collection on the day of matches at Twickenham and I am amazed at the generosity of customers.”
Sounds like rugby is back in the game: 7-7


Matt Feeney, Green Man, Willington, Derbyshire

We know for a fact that Matt is keen golfer and he has a pub full of Moto GP fans, so perhaps he can give a more balanced opinion on this one.

He says: “At the Green Man we are most definitely a football pub, due to the fact that we don’t have a top, local rugby team but it’s a different story when it comes to internationals. We get more watching England rugby than England football. Which does have an effect on bar sales. Rugby 1 Football 0.”
Hang on Matt, we’ve got our own arbitrary scoring system going on here.

Football falls behind: 7-10

Surely someone will speak up for football? How about a season-ticket holder at the former champions of England?


Brian Priest, The Chequers, Swinford

The bronze statue of landlord Brian Priest unveiled outside the Chequers pub in Swinford by Robbie Savage with James and Emma Priest..

Brian is the Leicester fan who, along with the help of his locals, painted his pub in the colours of the 2016 title winning team. He is also a BT Sport Manager of the Month. So surely, he is on the football side of the fence…

“We don’t get as many rugby fans in here as football fans but then the Leicester Tigers haven’t had so much to shout about these last few years,” he says. “Who’s the most generous? It really depends on the crowd. We have some fantastic locals and a local football team that comes back to support the pub.”
Back of the net. Football sneaks in front: 12-10


Lee Price, Royal Pier, Aberystwyth

Wales: rugby heartland but with a football team to be proud of. Who wins it for Lee?
“The greater regularity of football games makes them a valuable source of revenue, but very few matches outperform the income and intensity of a major rugby international.

“Being Wales’s national sport, game day rouses a sense of ceremony, a chill-inducing celebration almost. Benefiting from a better atmosphere, less tension, fewer obscenities, and a broader public, the oval bag generally sees that the beer flows a lot faster.”

Ooh, that’s close. Football scores a drop goal, but rugby responds by slipping a tackle and racing towards the try line: 15-15


Richard Cutler, Thomas A Becket, Northampton

Final stop Northampton and it looks like the comeback will be complete.

“We are the last pub on the way to the Saints ground and the first one you see on the way out. We show both sports but really it is rugby and real ale for us. We have the Guinness Village with a marquee and we are really established as a rugby pub. For us one the best things is that that there is no home and away in rugby.”

Final score: Football 18-22 Rugby

It was a nail-biting thriller but in our entirely unscientific look at two great sports, rugby has come out on top. But don’t feel you must choose. When Wonderwall finishes you can always put on Song 2.

As luck would have it, at BT Sport we have plenty of live action covering both sports at home and in European competition as well as much, much more.

For upcoming fixture information visit here.