Photo by Mohit Marwaha: Pexels
Beginning a start up business always offers challenges. If you are working on opening a sports bar or restaurant, you can learn from the approach that sports teams and promoters take: decide to whom you are appealing, design ‘content’ that is relevant to the target audience and your community and get your name out there.
The primary attraction of a sports bar is the sports matches and other events you will be able to screen. As you work on the start up, you should find an agency that will make sure you can get sports broadcasting rights and partnerships.
Here is an outline of some of the approaches taken by sport to help establish your new business.
Define a very specific target audience
The people who are interested in sports are not only sports players themselves, but also spectators, relatives of players and people interested in fitness. When you are looking to start up a sports bar, you should identify to whom you are appealing.
Your instinct may be to target quite a specific audience, but it’s a good idea to look more broadly. By the same token, though, don’t aim to appeal to everyone in the local area. Keep focused.
You should be able to offer screenings that will cater for young, active sports enthusiasts, but also for older people who are interested in keeping fit, but don’t necessarily play sports themselves.
Create dynamic, topical and relevant ‘content’
If a sports team wants to establish a presence and a following, they need to give the public something they want to see. This is in the form of great play, new stars and events that are about the community, town, or an even wider area.
When you are working on your start up sports bar, you should adopt the same approach: give the public something to come in for, and you will begin to attract a clientele. If you keep up the standard of what you offer, you’ll soon find regulars coming in more often. The ‘content’ you offer can be in the form of great food, but you need to look more broadly than that, too.
Many PPV events, especially in boxing, mixed martial arts (like UFC), and sometimes pro-wrestling, are highly anticipated. If promoted properly, these events can attract a large audience to bars and restaurants. This can mean increased business and potentially new regular customers. By featuring these PPV events, you can draw a crowd passionate about these high-profile fights and matches.
Find out what sports and sports events the community is most interested in and make sure you feature the relevant matches in your bar. Showing national events and international sports meets will also help to attract people.
Keep the look and feel of your sports bar topical and relevant. Remember that you should aim to appeal to quite a wide audience, so don’t only focus on screening games. If there is an event that features fitness, you can also build a menu, decorations or even an event around that.
Build partnerships and sponsorships
If you want your startup to become a feature in the community, then you should look to establish links to local businesses and possibly products. You can work on building a partnership with a business, such as a sports store, or even a manufacturer of sports equipment.
Look for local sports or fitness events for which you could offer some kind of sponsorship. You should try to focus on sponsorships that would appeal to some, or all, of the aspects of your target audience.
Multipronged advertising campaign: social media, radio, television, local outlets
Sporting events don’t just draw crowds organically. Some of the die hard fans of a team will follow them assiduously and know when they are playing. The public needs to be told when there is a fixture. Even more importantly, when there is a special sports event, the word needs to get out.
This is why sports promoters establish a multipronged marketing campaign, which is the approach to marketing you should adopt.
Working within your budget, you can select a few advertising channels for your marketing. At the very least, this can include local radio and television; posters and flyers; and, perhaps most importantly, social media.
Use social media actively, creatively and consciously
When you embark on a social media campaign, you should first aim to develop an organic online presence. As you develop a following online, you can begin to pursue paid online advertising.
The aim of being on social media is to build a following. Make sure you make regular posts that are relevant to the sports you are planning to feature. Comment on local sports and fitness events and keep your business in the public eye.
Sponsor local sports teams or events
As a startup sports bar business, your primary aim should be to get your name out there and create a presence in the community. A great way of doing this is to sponsor local sports events, or even sports teams.
In the beginning, you don’t need to target big sports teams. Approach the local school and offer sponsorship to the football or basketball team. Or offer your sponsorship to a little league team.
It may seem a small beginning, but things can grow from there.