60% of football fans say atmosphere is biggest draw to pubs and bars for the World Cup

New research from music licensing company PPL PRS* reveals that most (85%) sport lovers will watch the upcoming Men’s Football World Cup, but its once-in-a-lifetime move to winter means 70% plan on doing so from the comfort of their own homes.

According to their survey of 500 UK residents, three-quarters (75%) say they would have visited a pub or bar if the games were held in the summer. But now, in these chillier months, the hospitality sector faces only 14% supporting from barstools. The seasonal shift, controversy and awkward kick-off terms have certainly switched up viewing habits.

Encouragingly though, PPL PRS has unearthed what will entice football fans through the door to help venues looking to screen the games: atmosphere (60%). A lively, cosy venue — think music playing, collective chanting of the national anthem and a sizzling log fire — in which to cheer with a beer is sure to warm them up. So, capitalise on the cold rather than consider it a challenge.

Other top incentives to go out to watch the games are ‘socialising’ (59%) then ‘meeting friends and family’ (58%) so creating a vibrant community feel is a key.

Two-thirds (66%) of football fans would be tempted to head out if a venue held a special promotion or World Cup themed events. This is heartening given that almost half (49%) have financial concerns.

Those following the tournament also face a four-hour time difference. Almost a quarter (24%) of fans find the kick off-times inconvenient. Hospitality venues can maximise the lunchtime or evening games by hosting extra special events that drive footfall and income.

Longer-term, bars and pubs potentially become ‘destinations’ for seasonal celebrations. The power of memory and word-of-mouth should not be underestimated.