The search for content has always been a thorny task for sports bars and restaurant operators. By content we mean any activity, programming or engagement you deliver to your guests while they visit your restaurant. Most operators have the programming part on lock down, but how do they do when it comes to alternative forms of content?

Most of the operators served by The Daily Rail and SportsTV Guide pretty much leave it at that. However, we believe not having a plan for alternative content is a fatal error in any restaurant, bar and grill. Whether you want to deliver custom messages to your guests through digital signage like CHIVE TV or provide obscure games that only streaming sports can deliver, understanding alternate content can be a real difference maker for your business.

To address the aforementioned dearth of knowledge, we compiled a few options to expand your understanding of alternate content. These concepts have varying barriers to entry and some have demonstrably better returns than others. We leave it to you to divine which might work for you.

Seeing the Sign

CHIVE TV is great alternative entertainment for restaurants, sports bars

You own something and you keep giving it away. What, you ask? Well, eye-balls, of course. Each time a guest watches an advertisement on the TV channels you show, those eye balls — and that guest’s attention — is going to someone else’s benefit. That’s why digital signage is so valuable as alternate content. For example, with CHIVE TV you can add a proprietary content channel, but also add your own messages in between segments. Digital signage, like CHIVE TV, provides you a method to promote your internal marketing programs, inform guests about the goings on at your place and provide them with amazing, family friendly content.

If your operations has more than a few TVs, there is a place for CHIVE TV’s funny and entertaining programming. This type of internal signage also delivers a real return on investment. Just consider that operators that installed CHIVE TV saw a 19% increase in traffic after they started streaming the content. Increased traffic means increased revenue.

Consequently, if you are looking for alternate content, CHIVETV is the kind of content that will deliver both entertainment and a return on the investment. The basic CHIVE TV channel and content is free.

Get with the Program

Traditional cable/satellite delivered TV is the most pervasive form of content in the restaurant industry. You all understand, and effectively manage that — or so you think. Let’s take DIRECTV, for example. Many of you have no idea if you are buying the right content. Consequently, we strongly encourage you to contact your DIRECTV dealer and ask them to do an audit of your account. Review your subscription with them once a year. You can better plan your content expense this way and make sure  you aren’t paying for things you don’t need — and conversely, not missing programming you could profit from.

You Down with OTT

OTT Sports Providers Directory for Sports Bars

We have discussed this subject many times on The Rail and on the SportsTV Guide. You will know, by now, we believe that streaming sports is the future of all sports programming. However, to be clear, the future is now! For example, there are 20-30 streaming-only NCAA football games each week. Also, up and coming leagues, like Major League Lacrosse (MLL), are only available out of market as streaming. This content is relevant to your guests, and, in many cases, free or inexpensive. We have published several blogs that outline why you should be onboard with streaming sports and what content is out there for you to access.

Even at its most basic, you can leverage this content to ensure you can serve college alumni groups and create viewing parties for them. The only complicated part is getting a browser-enable device on to your A/V system. After that it’s as simple as looking at your Streaming Events Tab on your SportsTV Guide to see what’s available and access a link directly to it. We are committed to giving you the information and look forward to you making streaming sports work for your business.

Check Your Mobility

Truth be told, the mobile revolution never came in the form most operators had hoped. Remember the frenzy to create your own app and the assertion you couldn’t survive without it? Yah, well that passed pretty quickly. That’s not to say that mobile isn’t a relevant platform to d eliver entertainment. The real problem here is that most mobile-based experiences that you can provide are expensive and have very little demonstrable return on investment (ROI). From trivia games that require expensive subscriptions to a jukebox accessed via a guest’s mobile device (that returns revenue at no cost to you), mobile can provide terrific entertainment options for your guests to enjoy.

However, if it doesn’t return, you’ll want to be very careful. The one thing we can assure you is that no small chain or independent operator should rush into a mobile solution unless they are clear on what their goals are and how they will be achieved by your choice. Absent that, you may not want to even bother with mobile entertainment and just focus on how your TVs can deliver to your guests.


Content choices are complicated once you get past the most basic sports TV programming. We suggest you focus directly on the return that any investment you make in alternative content will deliver. If that number doesn’t make sense then don’t do it. A metric like an increase in dwell times of 16% delivered by CHIVETV is pretty compelling and can clearly be understood as a powerful improvement. It’s actually OK to ask the platform to explain/justify their proposition and demonstrate their value as a return on investment.