People in a pub chatting
Survey shows live sports in pubs boost consumer spending and loyalty. Daniel LEAL/AFP

Consumer spending on pubs and bars in the UK has become a topic of significant interest, especially with the growing influence of live sports events.

According to an exclusive consumer survey, persons who watch live events spend 36 per cent more on dining and drinking out per month than those who do not. The data from CGA by NIQ and Sky Business revealed that showing live sports in pubs and bars may significantly improve consumer spending, dwell time on their website and loyalty.

The report also stated that almost nine in 10 (87%) say they stay out longer than usual when a live game is on, and an even higher proportion (89%) say they are more inclined to return to a venue if they know it displays sports. The live sport also brings friends and family together, with three-quarters (75%) of spectators watching in larger numbers than they would normally socialise with on non-sporting occasions.

The poll revealed which sports are watched in pubs and bars. It demonstrates the enormous popularity of football – the most watched sport ahead of rugby union, boxing, cricket and Formula One – as well as consumer interest in the English Premier League, which resumes on Friday, August 11th.

'The Value of Live Sport in Britain's Pubs and Bars', a new report, also included an in-depth poll of bar landlords, managers and owners. It emphasised the importance of live sports to venues and the risk of overlooking them, with four out of five (82%) stating that if they stopped screening games, some customers would move elsewhere. Other findings in the new paper include women's sports gaining popularity at pubs and bars. The report disclosed that almost half (48%) of venues expect to screen additional games in the coming months, creating an excellent opportunity to draw in more women and families.

Additionally, the report showed that the availability of free and fast WiFi is a key component of the pub and bar experience. More than four in five (85%) of people who watch sports in pubs and bars anticipate free WiFi, and nearly two-thirds (64%) are less inclined to return if the connection is poor. For instance, the report revealed that nine in 10 (90%) sports viewers believe Sky Sports is the top live event broadcaster, and a similar proportion (91%) believes it is the home of the English Premier League.

Andy Dean, CGA by NIQ's client director - hospitality operators and food stated that the research confirms the enormous value of live sport to Britain's pubs, bars and drinks suppliers. These locations, he noted, provide people with unforgettable and communal experiences that cannot be recreated at home, particularly during important football events, and these occasions not only increase patronage but also improve reputation.

With both businesses and households experiencing significant cost pressures, Dean noted that it is more crucial than ever to give compelling reasons to eat and drink out, and investing in live sports is a fantastic way to keep people coming through the doors.

Damian Saunders, Managing Director of Sky Business Hospitality, emphasised the importance of providing unmissable TV content and connectivity to enhance customer experiences. Saunders stated that as Sky Business prepares for the start of a new football season, it wanted to get a sense of how people value sport and the role it plays, whether they are behind or in front of the bar.

Saunders added: "There's nothing quite like live sport when it comes to bringing people together."

Whether customers are die-hard sports fans, follow a certain team or player, or just casually watch on occasion, Saunders stressed that watching live sport in a pub is unrivalled and plays an important role in creating a fantastic environment and connecting people from all walks of life.

Saunders concluded that sports fans spend more money than average pubgoers, stay longer and return for more.