Sponsored by Frank’s King of Wings

If there is any staple in the sports-themed segment of our industry, it’s the happy marriage between wings, beer, and sports.

Consider this: Have you ever been to a sports bar that didn’t carry chicken wings? Sure, plenty of them don’t have pizza or barbecue, but I would be shocked if the number of sports bars that don’t serve chicken wings broke into the double digits.

This got me thinking, we don’t pay proper attention to this incredibly popular (and profitable) menu item with its significant contribution to the triumvirate that is wings, beer, and sports. It’s time for that to change. We wanted to give you some ideas about how to couple wings with beer & sports, starting with the upcoming NCAA Basketball tournament.

With 68 teams qualifying, March Madness literally engages the entire country — state by state, city by city. And its multi-week schedule should mean a goldmine for sports bars and restaurants. The downside, however, is only the first two days ever meet our expectations. Operators need to get a little creative to create some guest bounce back.

The good news, we have some ideas.

We won’t claim that these creative uses of chicken wings will make all 12 days of tournament play as busy as the first weekend. However, we will assert that it will provide some fun reasons for guests to return.

Create Your Own ‘Beer & Wing Style – Team Pairing’ Bracket

Frank's King of Wings chicken wings

With a myriad of great beer variety and amazing ways to prepare wings, this is a great way to connect your location to all the teams in the tournament. Choose a chicken wing sauce that is reflective of the team or area where the university is located and pair it with a popular beer.

For example, if University of Rhode Island makes the tournament, serve Frank’s RedHot Island Honey Garlic wings and Dos Equis® Ambar.

You can check out this great resource from Franks RedHot King of Wings for terrific recipes and beer pairings.

More Wings, Better Deals

With 12 days of tournament play, offer people an incentive for coming more frequently. Print business cards with 12 prices marked on them. The highest is your regular price for wings. Reduce the price incrementally to zero for the National Championship game. You can vary the price drops based on how generous you want to be or how much incentive you want to add to the value proposition.

March Madness promo card

Sample of a March Madness price-drop promo. Download this as a PSD template to update with your own logo and prices.

You could also have a prize for people that make it for all 12 orders during the tournament. You don’t offer a promotion, you just deliver the cards to anyone that orders wings during the event. This way you put your name and info in their pocket and remind them you’re eagerly awaiting their return.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Wing Dinner

Allow guests to pick the score of a specific game during each session. You can choose the game or let them pick the one they want to predict. Reward anyone that gets the winning team right with a discount on another order of wings during the tournament, and reward another person that gets closest to the correct score with a free order.

It’s a simple game, but it creates a nice bounce-back opportunity.

No matter how you approach marketing to March Madness, you’re gonna sell a lot of chicken wings. Gearing promotions towards that consumption is how you meet your guests where they are. No doubt the relationship between wings, beer and sports is strong and that’s exactly why you should take advantage of it.

Dos Equis® is a registered trademark of HEINEKEN USA; Frank’s RedHot® is a registered trademark of The French’s Food Company, LLC.