After a challenging start to 2024 for pubs, bars and drinks suppliers, the Six Nations rugby tournament is set to deliver a welcome boost to sales.
The competition, which began on Friday 2 February, is a great chance to attract people to venues showing games and promote drinks brands—especially in the Long Alcoholic Drinks (LAD) category. CGA by NIQ’s BrandTrack research confirms the appetite for sport in the On Premise, with one in nine (11%) consumers visiting a venue to watch a sporting event in the last six months—a year-on-year increase of three percentage points. While football is the most popular sport by some distance, nearly a third (31%) of sports visitors have watched rugby union.
CGA’s sales measurement service meanwhile reveals the impact of big sporting occasions on trading. Data from the 2023 Six Nations showed that venues showing games generated 28% more sales than on the average equivalent days of the year.
The LAD category achieved the biggest upswing, with sales rising 35% on matchdays, though soft drinks, wine and spirits all benefited from a halo effect. Stout, the drink most commonly associated with sport, saw average sales rocket 85%.
This year’s Six Nations should also enjoy a knock-on effect from the popularity of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which delivered double-digit growth in drinks sales for pubs and bars showing matches.
CGA by NIQ client director Paul Bolton says: “A squeeze on spending after Christmas has given the On Premise a tricky start to 2024, but the Six Nations is a golden opportunity to encourage visits and promote brand trial and trade-up in February and March. Venues and suppliers that can align themselves with the tournament and craft compelling promotions and activations will get a big competitive advantage in the weeks ahead. Understanding sales patterns and consumers’ preferences will be key to capitalising on big sporting occasions—not just during the Six Nations but throughout the year.”