Next week, people from all around the globe will tune in to watch 32 countries compete in one of the most prestigious tournaments of all time—the World Cup. During the last series of games back in 2014, an estimated 3.2 billion viewers tuned in worldwide, making it the second most popular global sporting event, only behind the Olympics. Soccer might not be America’s favorite pastime, but its popularity is certainly increasing here in the US. As of 2018, 7% of Americans named soccer as their favorite sport, while a comparable 9% named baseball as their favorite. And actually, the percentage of Americans who list baseball as their favorite sport, along with football and basketball, continues to decrease—making it likely that soccer will prevail in the near future.
With soccer on the rise, promoting the World Cup in your establishment has some BIG advantages, but it’ll take a little more than just showing the matches on your TVs. We’ve put together a list of some simple ways you can bring attention to your establishment to make a little extra money throughout the entire month-long event.
Learn the game
If you don’t know a thing about the World Cup, no worries. Before you start planning though, you should at least know the basics, like who’s playing and when. You can find a list of the official qualifying teams here and a list of the match times here. Pop culture tip: this year’s tournament will feature two of the best soccer players in the world, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi of Argentina. Both have won the FIFA Ballon d’Or 5 times each within the past decade—which means that you can expect customers to watch for this reason alone.
Creating a central theme for your promotions is essential and luckily, this one is a bit of a no-brainer. There are 32 countries playing, which means you have a huge variety of cuisines to feature. There are plenty of recipes you can try, and this article from the 2014 World Cup has some great ones (just be careful to ignore the recipes of those teams who are not competing this year!). If you do your research on beer around the world, your customers will also be able to travel the globe within the walls of your establishment with a “Build Your Own World Cup Bucket,” in which they can create their own assortment of international beers.
Get creative with your specials
The World Cup starts on June 14th and goes until the 15th of July, which means that you have lots of time to stretch your promotions. The chances are slim that your customers will spend the whole tournament with just you, but if you make your promotions stand out, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping them away from competitors. Take a look at the ideas below:
- Offer 50% off drinks to customers who wear jerseys, and offer free drinks to those wearing the jersey of a team that scores.
- Get crafty and assemble passports for your customers (they don’t have to be fancy, a folded sheet of paper meant to fit inside a wallet is perfect). Everytime they watch a game with you, they’ll get a stamp for each country playing. Once X amount of stamps is reached, offer the prize of your choice for customers to come back and enjoy during the finals.
- Create a social media contest using hashtags: have your customers post something while in your establishment along with the hashtag ‘#[business name]WorldCup’, and randomly select one of the posts to win a free round of drinks during another upcoming game.
- Russia hosts the World Cup this year, so consider running a promotion for Russian Vodka throughout the tournament; 7 shots for $10, 2 for the price of 1, whatever you see fit depending on your establishment.
- Keeping your customers engaged is key, so think of specials you can run that depend on the game, like unlimited beer while team X is winning, or an open bar for the rest of the night if team Z wins.
Since this is a global event, not all the games will take place at your typical game times. If possible, use this as an opportunity to start a weekend or weekday brunch, or a breakfast buffet while you have the game playing. Don’t forget to also highlight your takeout and delivery options, as a lot of people will host their own viewing parties or have friends over during the week to watch together.
Know your demographic
Depending on your location, you might want to consider extra staffing/delivery drivers during the World Cup. For example, if you’re in an area where soccer is extremely popular, hiring a few extra people would be wise. If you’re understaffed for a packed house during the first game, chances are slim that people will return to watch the rest of the games with you.
Be sure to also consider who in your community will be joining you. Since soccer is an international sport, it’s possible that you’ll have some patrons who don’t speak English. Utilize any employees you have who may be bilingual, or consider hiring new employees that can speak multiple languages.
Although this is an incredibly exciting event for most, there’s are chance you might have some guests who are more interested in their usual baseball games, or the US Open, which also starts on June 14th. Use your judgment and choose whether or not you want to show the World Cup on all of your TVs, or just some of them.
Social media is necessary
Like any other promotion, one of the best ways to spread the word is using social media. You can create an eye-catching graphic in minutes with a number of free resources, like Canva or Typorama. If you do create your own graphics, just beware of the rules and regulations implemented by FIFA; it’s worth noting that none of your signage, decorations, marketing materials, ads, social media promotions or online content can include the official World Cup logo, mascot, trophy, poster, or slogan. You also cannot post a match schedule with your own logo. Read the official document here.
Don’t forget about email marketing also, to reach those who don’t check social media every day. Sending your loyal customers an email with everything you have planned is a great way to make sure they’re in the know, and will mark their calendars to join you.
With the right amount of planning and promoting, the World Cup can be fun for your guests and profitable for you—a true win-win for this summer. If you’ve got other promotional ideas, we’d love for you to share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If your business can use some help with marketing, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.
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