Five Reasons to Know What's on TV for Sports... Even If You're Not a Sports Bar

The SportsTV Guide is a utility serving restaurant operators for almost 25 years. Too often, when we offer our service to a restaurant operator, their first response is, “We aren’t a sports bar!”

It’s high time someone challenged this assertion. It’s a fallacy and always has been. While only about 15% of all restaurants are traditional sports-themed operators, any bar or restaurant with at least one TV can become a sports bar based exclusively on a major event.

Imagine, your local team is playing for a championship. Won’t your bar have at least a few folks who would want to watch that game live?

Here are five compelling reasons you need to be more aware of what’s on for sports:

1. It’s what your guests want!

Our offices are in Boston and there are plenty of restaurants with TVs that aren’t even remotely sports themed -- that is until Sunday and the Patriots are playing. Then even the most subdued operation will have at least a handful of folks glued intently to the TV at the bar.

You might be surprised to know there are a solid 100 days per year of sports programming that will transcend your theme and be interesting to your guests. Think of March Madness, the NFL every Sunday/Monday (heck, even Thursday), the World Series, the NBA Finals, the Olympics, World Cup Soccer…you must be getting the picture. That’s why even if you only care about local and tent pole (major national) events, you really need to know what’s on for sports.

2. You need to get the most ROI from your TV & programming

Even the least expensive public viewing program options are hardly cheap. You are likely paying between $500-1000/year for programming if you aren’t sports-themed and closer to $5000/year if you are a traditional sports bar. That’s a lot of money to spend without making your TVs work for you.

Little things such as having golf on the TV for happy hour, or anticipating the local team’s game will make your guests happy and give them a reason to return. You invested in the TV infrastructure and programming, don’t waste those financial commitments by not being aware and ahead of what’s on for sports.

3. There’s more than just sports on TV

The SportsTV Guide certainly focuses on sports programming, but it also offers listings for other major programming events. For example, the Oscars or Grammy’s will create interest from guests, not to mention the Presidential Debates and other national concerns. As an operator, I remember the valuable refuge we delivered by having our TVs tuned to the news as the events of 9/11/01 unfolded. Even with the Internet on almost every device, people want to see the news of the day. Make sure you are prepared to deliver.

4. Sports is a unifier and creates commonality

This is a golden age for sports in our culture. Where 30 years ago sports was exclusively a place where men cared and paid attention, now they draw interest from every demographic. The traditional demographic for a sports fan is no longer traditional. Women are equally passionate about their local teams. That means that almost anyone that visits your place is potentially interested in seeing “the game.” Being aware makes it easier to manage your business and ensures you are relevant to any guest that visits.

5.  Planning leads to improved execution

Because we send the SportsTV Guide in advance, you never need to be surprised by live events. Look at the Weekly Preview and make sure you aren’t surprised by a game that might impact your business. It also ensures that you are ready for the guest that requests a specific (and perhaps non-traditional) event. The longer you stand there with the remote in your hand the less time you are delivering service to other guests. The SportsTV Guide ensures you are prepared in advance and can respond quickly to a guest, making your life easier.

Go Pro or Go Limited

Over the years of delivering the SportsTV Guide to mostly sports themed operators, we have never tried to entice non-sports-themed players. Now, however, our new platform allows us to deliver two versions of the guide. There’s the Pro version, perfect for the serious sports-themed operator; then there’s the Limited version, tailored for the local bar that just needs to know what’s happening around their location.

Every operator should value the ability to be prepared and satisfy guests quickly. As a subscriber to The Daily Rail, you already receive a version of the guide, but starting Thursday, that will change. We look forward to making your TV viewing even easier and ensuring you are never surprised by sports on TV or any guest request.