Football. Basketball. Baseball. Hockey. Soccer.

Every sports bar worth its salt shows these games. Your loyal patrons and irregular guests expect you to be showing these sports on the regular every day and night of the week. So how do you stand out?

You could give your guests a superior guest experience through technology or your atmosphere. That’s something we’ve harped on a ton in the past couple of years. Another way is to show alternative or “off-beat” sports programming on some of your TVs. This does a few things:

  1. It positions you as the sports expert in your neighborhood.
  2. Opens up your venue to a whole new group of fans & potentially regular clients.
  3. Opens your traditional guests into new sports they might love (and then come back to watch).
  4. Shows that you really care about sports entertainment and aren’t just milking folks for an easy buck.

You’ll be able to find listings for these sports and more with the SportsTV Guide, so don’t forget to sign up for your free month trial of the SportsTV Guide today. Until then, here are five alternative sports your sports bar should consider showing:

Drone Racing

While drones are best known for being considered the “future of warfare,” they’ve found their ways into other aspects of our lives – like photography. And if it can move and move fast, someone’s going to turn it into a sport.

And so it has. Enter: The Drone Racing League (DRL).

The DRL competitions include stadiums and abandoned malls as venues. Pilots fly their drones through twisted courses of bright neon lights, giving it a modern-Tron feel.

The racer drones fly up to 85 MPH and as high as 6-8 kilometers. Crashes happen often. And racer pilots fly their drones via remote control and first-person view goggles that provides a video feed from a camera mounted on their drone, giving the pilot that cockpit feel. The DRL champs pull in a cool $75,000 for their efforts.

DRL signed a deal with ESPN and started airing competitions this past June.

CrossFit Games

It seems like an odd thing to do – watch people workout, but the CrossFit Games are amazingly captivating.

The games have grown a ton since their humble beginnings. Looking to crown the “Fittest Man & Women on Earth,” the CrossFit Games display some of the most amazing feats of physical prowess you’ll see, including throwing hundreds of pounds of weight over their heads, handstand walks, obstacle course runs, and other muscle cramp inducing games.

This year they debuted cyclocross, which was a bicycle race even that included speed bumps and sand traps that the contestants had to jump or run over. They get real bizarre/creative/masochistic, making for some fun and compelling TV.

The CrossFit Games were streamed live on CrossFit’s Youtube page and on CBS/CBS Sports Network this year, making it easy for sports bars to show guests.


Lacrosse bridges the gap between mainstream sports and off-beat sports. It doesn’t have quite the following of the major pro-leagues in the US, but it definitely has a cult following. This is a perfect sport to leverage.

One part hockey, one part football, lacrosse is a fun sport that mixes power and finesse. Games are easily found on TV, especially college lacrosse, airing regularly on ESPN, CBS, and conference networks.


We know. People actually want to watch other people play video games?

Yep! And it’s a huge market.

More than 13 million Americans view Twitch.TV (an online eSports outlet) monthly. In 2015, the League of Legends Championship had 27 million viewers compared to just 15.5 million viewers for the NBA Finals. And the eSports market is expected to hit $2 billion by the end of 2018.

So if you think “No one cares about eSports” you’re dead wrong. It’s also a relatively untapped market in the sports bar industry. There are just a few eSports-themed bars out there, so there’s plenty of room for savvy business-folk to grab their slice of the pie early.

Along with live streams on Twitch, eSports matches and championships have been aired on major sporting channels like ESPN and TNT. Events can also be found via services like Sony Vue and even Twitter.

American Ninja Warrior/Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge

American Ninja Warrior (ANW) just wrapped up its ninth season, so to say it’s not mainstream might feel a bit of a stretch. But how many sports bars are showing this amazing spectacle of athleticism and agility?

We’re willing to bet not many.

American Ninja Warrior shows off athletes (dubbed ninjas) take on a series of obstacle courses that challenge their agility, speed and upper body strength. The show also does a lot of mini-bio features on their athletes.

One of the more unique aspects of the sport is that each season can end without a winner.

Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge is similar to ANW, but piggybacks on the Spartan Race brand. Teams of athletes work together over a series of obstacles, including mud hills, barbed wire, rope-burning climbs, and rolling metal cages. They get dirty and sometimes bloody.

ANW and Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge air on NBC over the summer.


Add any of these sports into the mix and along with some solid sports bar promotions, you’ll be reaching new heights to success.