Once every four years the world comes together to celebrate the Beautiful Game with the biggest international soccer tournament. Soccer fans, long suffering in the United States, can now watch the entire tournament on ESPN and have been able to for several iterations. This year’s event is being held in Russia and is sure to be one of the world’s most watched sporting events. This means it’s popular and easily available.
So, sports bar operators better have some solid marketing ready to give guests a reason to check out the games at your joint.
That leads us, inexorably, here to discuss the best ways restaurants and bars are celebrating the world championship of soccer (could I sound any more American with that description?). But, in fact, that’s exactly one of the ways you can leverage the tournament, by using good old fashion American marketing to get folks to stop by — a lot.
Check out these five ideas and get rolling on your own world soccer tournament marketing campaigns.
Did Anyone Say Brackets?
This is a bit of a duh, but invite your guests to complete brackets for the tournament. There are several ways to run a “Pick ’Em” tournaments, but we liked www.SuperBru.com. You can create a pool for just your restaurant and invite your guests to play.
Include prizing to reward the best prognosticators. You can do it by round or overall performance. Be sure to post the results both in your bar and on your social networks. If you want to keep your investment low, you can easily work with local businesses to trade for prizes and the app is free.
We have asserted for years that working with a nationally recognized brand delivers you credibility with your guests and amplifies your promotional efforts. For example, check out a great and simple to implement promotion from Heineken for this year’s world soccer event. Heineken is offering one of 10 customized international country scarves to any guest that purchases (in states where legal) four bottles or draught of their beers at your locations. Futball/football fans (soccer to us ill-informed Americans) will love the chance to get a soccer scarf of their preferred country. It’s kinda a thing if you didn’t already know!
This promotion offers something that guests crave, the international flavor of international soccer, and rewards them for purchases they make at your establishment. Heineken is providing high-impact POS materials designed to excite your guests to make more purchases. This is a ready to deploy promotion that lasts the entire tournament from June to August. You do nothing more than promote to guests using the POS provided and your guests get cool soccer scarf from hanging at your location. It’s a win-win.
Learn more about it on our 2018 International Soccer Central guide.
How Often is Frequent?
There are 25 days of world championship soccer starting on June 14th and culminating with the finals on July 15th. Reward guests that come multiple times just like a lunch frequency program. We suggest you escalate the rewards as guests reach milestones.
For visit one, give them a free soda or other inexpensive reward. For visit five, provide a free appetizer and grow your rewards from there. Deliver your best prize to the guest that accumulates the most visits during the tournament. This is simple to execute but incentivizes guests to make frequent visits during the event. It’s a short-term loyalty program surrounded one of the most popular sporting events of the year.
You’ll be able to find the tournament schedule on our 2018 International Soccer Central guide. And, if you haven’t yet, subscribe to the SportsTV Guide, so you’ll always know when the biggest soccer matches are on TV in your area.
You Look Like a Real Fan!
If you have kids, then you know they all play soccer these days. And kids love nothing more than dressing up (both little kids and those of the grown-up variety). The international tournament inspires a whole different level of fan excitement from fans and many of them go far in their actual dress up. This makes for a great promotional opportunity. Invite guests to dress up to watch the matches at your place. The reward can be a small food or beverage item or even a small discount on the bill, but you will transform the atmosphere in your restaurant by encouraging guests to express their passion.
This also makes awesome social media content, so be sure to snag photos and videos of your guests in action!
Make It About Lunch or Maybe Breakfast
As previously mentioned, the whole tournament takes place in Russia. That means that the games are primarily on late-morning and afternoon here in the US. This is especially true on the east coast, where the games range from 6am to 2pm (local time) kickoffs.
Consequently, east coast sports bars should focus on lunch during the 25 days of games to encourage folks to visit. Create a game-day menu, just like you would for American football and make it fast. Guests will be coming for their lunch hour and you want to make it easy for them to get in and get out.
On the west coast, you’ll have to open early. That means you have to offer a brunch of some sort, but you can keep it simple. Provide full beverage service and some packaged foods. This means no need for a full kitchen staff, but you can provide guests a great place to watch that are away from home.
There you have it. Don’t let this natural marketing opportunity go to waste. This is especially valid because it happens during the slowest time of the year in our industry. If you get started now, you can have any of these ideas in place with plenty of time to promote and convince your guests that yours is the place to be for the big event in Russia.