The Tour de France is one of my favorite events of the year. Full disclosure, I ride 100+ miles a week during the summer and think this sport is amazing. However, that shouldn’t distract from the fact that it’s a cool event that fills in content in July, which could otherwise be a pretty barren month.
The trick is how to market for it…or if you even should. So, let’s explore the event and see if we can benefit from it.
Tour de France 101
To start, the Tour de France (TDF) is a 23-day event with some of the most interesting visual content you’ll ever see on TV. The race ranges all over France from the countryside to the sea and everything in between. They visit both the Pyrenees in the West, and the Alps in the East for some very dramatic climbing drama and a show of endurance at its best.
The finish always rolls down to the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe for an amazing back drop and finale.
Unfortunately, the race also is run five hours ahead on Central European Time. This means the broadcasts begin at 8am ET/5am PT when most of you aren’t open yet. Consequently, the only way you can leverage this content is through showing the replays daily or running a prediction promotion of some sort. Each can be a way to engage guests with the content and maybe even get them to return because of your approach.
So, let’s start with just the content.
NBC Sports Network (NBCSN 220) replays the TDF broadcasts multiple times daily. Even if you just remember to put it on, you will have improved the content experience in your restaurant. However, by giving it prominent placement in between the sparse content during July you’ll give guests something visually interesting and different than normal sports content. If it only adds some variety to what you show, then it’s a good choice.
Download the 2018 Tour de France TV Schedule
Building a Tour de France sports bar promotion
The Tour de France is a world class event that only succeeds in sports bars if you really work at it. Your best bet to promote the Tour de France (and get folks to stop by to watch), is a stage by stage approach. Invite guests to pick the winner of the next day’s stage. Reward them for guessing by giving them a bounce-back discount valid any day while the Tour is running. Anyone that predicts the stage winner receives some more valuable discount or premium item. This way you are encouraging a return visit and engaging them in the Tour de France on your TVs.
Promote starting the around June 28th using social. Explain your contest in a series of posts to generate interest from your followers. Make sure your signup requires an email address for notification and you can harvest a ton of new addresses.
Also, incentivize your staff to get signups. For example, each time a staff member gets a promotional entrant to participate, they get a point. The server with the most points gets a free shift meal. Inexpensive, but very powerful incentive for a staff member.
Or just create your own program. The goal is to engage guests in an event that sits squarely in the slowest time of the year for most sports themed operators. Whether you just remember to turn it on for guests to view or fully executed promotion, the Tour de France is a gift at the right time. So, get started now and you’ll be ready for action before the tour begins.