Each year, people from all over the country tune in to what is arguably among the most prestigious and exciting athletic tournaments in the world. Following Selection Sunday on March 11th, the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will tip off and millions will be watching along with brackets in hand as the best college basketball teams in the nation vie for a national championship. We’re here to offer solutions and make sure that your business is the place to be for your community to experience March Madness.
This tournament is one of the most unique and dynamic sports and cultural fixtures. Spanning the entire remaining month of March and featuring near constant sports action and coverage, March Madness engages your basketball die-hards and casual fans alike rooting for hometown schools, the underdog, the integrity of their own bracket, and even those just enjoying the game day atmosphere. As a business, the opportunities to capitalize on this special phenomenon are near limitless.
Organize A Bracket
One of the more straightforward ways to make your establishment a gameday destination is to organize a bracket pool amongst your regulars. It has never been easier for people to organize pools of this kind using online services that track tournament results and participant scoring. Offering local and friendly competition to your regulars is a great way to pique the interest of the passionate and casual fan alike.
Brackets can also be used as a fun way to promote menu items or introduce new specials, while getting your customers involved. For example, have your wings go head-to-head; Buffalo vs. Garlic Parmesan. The winner moves on to verse Honey BBQ, and the loser is eliminated from the bracket. Want to take it a step further? Partner with another local business and compete against one of their specialties! They’re promoting your business, while you’re promoting theirs. It’s a win-win!
Stick With What You Already Do Well
As accessible as the personalized bracket services are, you’re running a business, you’re busy enough. The real secret to success here is capitalizing on what you already do well and making the most of it during this time of year.
Especially at the start of the tournament, these games are all day every day, which means that snack foods are the way to go. Fries, wings, and finger foods will keep people content without over stuffing them. All the more reason for your patrons to stick with you for the long haul.
Get Them Back in the Door
Speaking of the long haul, did we mention that this tournament lasts for weeks? There are going to be a lot of options for people to watch the game, so it’s crucial that you use social media to advertise all of the promotions you plan to run—and well in advance.
Consider signing up patrons for a March Madness club, where customers who sign up are eligible for deals on apps or drinks for the duration of the tournament. Raffles for hometown college gear, or even a credit to your own business towards a future dining experience are great ways to draw people through your door and most importantly, keep them there. The camaraderie of these games is contagious enough as it is, we just want to make sure that your community experiences this magic at your business.
Make it fun!
Keep it exciting by giving your guests ways to interact with these games in real time.
Was there an upset? Your next drink is half off.
Buzzer beater? Try these fries on the house.
You don’t have to take those deals to heart, every business is going to be different, but when your guests drink 3 beers over the course of a game waiting to see if their fourth is going to be discounted courtesy of a Cinderella team upsetting a college powerhouse, these kinds of deals can pay immediate dividends.
Keep in mind that not all your guests will necessarily be paying attention to the game, but they will be paying attention to your menu. Get a theme going with menu items named after teams or March Madness lingo (i.e. First 4, Sweet Sixteen, Elite 8, Final 4), or get creative and make something that visually fits the theme, like orange Jell-O shots with basketball lines piped on.
Every business is unique, but hopefully these ideas help get the ball rolling as you start to think about how you can maximize March Madness for your establishment. If you need an extra “assist” that’s where our marketing experts come in. We’re here to help you get off the bench and into the game and make sure the tournament experience of your business is a slam dunk.