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Lauren Platero

Top 10 Sports Bar Marketing Ideas: Best Marketing Plans

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If you’re starting a bar and wondering how much do bars make, opting for a sports bar specifically could be a profitable option. The bar and restaurant industry is booming, which means it’s advisable to differentiate yourself from competitors. 

Sports bars are the perfect settings for locals to gather and cheer on their favorite teams. Delicious food, sports memorabilia, and various types of alcohol will draw customers for a relaxing casual dining experience. 

But how should you promote a sports bar to the masses?


10 Sports Bar Marketing Ideas

Sports is a niche market with loyal consumers. The way you market a sports bar might differ from your standard bar and grill. Let’s learn about strategic restaurant marketing ideas to help you increase bar profits

Pick A Theme

Themes make bars significantly more festive. Whether you’re choosing to focus on one sport in particular or all of the teams in a specific region, a theme can be an attraction on its own. 

You can establish a theme for your sports bar in several ways, including:

  • Display team logos on glassware and tables
  • Decorate the walls with paraphernalia 
  • Use a specific color scheme throughout the bar
  • Create a list of drink specials with thematic name
  • Come up with thematic puns for each menu section

Sports bars typically revolve around several types of sports. In this case, you’ll have much leeway to decorate, design restaurant menus, and run promotions. 

Book Live Entertainment

Sports and music cross more often than you might think. Live musicians are a way for your sports bar to bring in an entirely new crowd. 

When artists book a performance, they’re likely promoting the event across all of their social media platforms, in email newsletters, and to their inner circle. 

By creating a roster of live entertainment acts, you’ll be able to predict an increase in customers during those dates. If you’re uncertain about which styles of music you’d like to feature, host auditions as part of the onboarding process. 

Remember to keep bar event ideas regarding sports in mind first. Sports games will likely be the biggest traffic driver on game nights, so you don’t want to take the attention away from the televisions. 

Sell Food On Delivery Apps

Sometimes, consumers simply want to remain in the comfort of their own homes and order takeout. If you don’t offer your food to go, you’re missing out on a significant portion of your customer base. 

Here are some of the third-party apps to consider using for your sports bar:

  • DoorDash
  • Uber Eats 
  • Grubhub

Ordering food to go is also a way for new customers to learn about your business. For instance, if your sports bar is open a little longer than others in your area, you’ll be one of the few late-night options. 

If your sports bar isn’t in an ideal location or isn’t visible from main roads, delivery apps will boost its exposure in no time, too. 

Host and Cater Private Events

A sports bar is a fun and casual place to host events, from happy hour networking sessions to graduation parties. 

Some of the most profitable events include:

  • Work holiday parties
  • Post-ceremony graduation parties
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Bridal showers
  • Baby showers 
  • School reunions 

For a new sports bar, it only takes one private event for many people to know about your business. Not only do private events inform people that your bar exists, but it gives all of the attendees an idea for their next event. 

Offer Game Night Specials 

Game nights are when you should expect to be busy; after all, it is a sports bar. To quickly establish yourself as a sports-centric business, offer significant discounts when sports games are on television.

Regular game nights can have different specials for entree food and drinks. Major events such as Super Bowl Sunday and the World Series can come with much larger perks.

Some ideas for game night specials might include:

  • $2.00 draft beers
  • Half-off appetizers (view our complete appetizer list for ideas)
  • $5 glasses of wine
  • 10% off your entire bill

Always calculate how much you need to generate in profits before running specials. As your business generates weekly revenue, calculate estimates for what you predict to make each day of the week. 

Money management skills are essential when running a business, and you don’t want to end up in the red due to discounts and frequent specials. 

Share the Menu On Social Media

Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way to promote your business. Consumers tend to trust their peers, so you want to make sure you’re part of the conversation. 

It’s excellent if your sports bar shares the menu on social media, but it’s even better if followers share it. So, you can reward your loyal following by granting them perks for each time they share your menu. 

Perks could include:

  • A percentage taken off of the bill
  • A free appetizer or dessert menu item
  • A free sampler of local craft beers

Make sure that the promotion rules state that the menu shares take place at least 24 hours before visiting the sports bar. Implementing this rule will avoid last-minute shares that could get deleted right after the customer pays the tab. 

Collaborate With Local Breweries

Nothing says “sports bar” like a wide selection of delicious brews. Help support local businesses by offering beer brands from local breweries. 

If you’re unsure of which style of beer to display on your menu, opt for the following:

Most customers will likely ask the bartender to pour a beer alongside their meal, so having a diverse selection is necessary.  Keep our complete bartender's guide book handy to inspire your team of mixologists to create countless delicious drinks. 

Be sure to keep track of your liquor storage with an organized inventory spreadsheet

Gift Card Giveaways

Giving away gift cards is a simple way to promote your business. Gift cards will draw loyal customers and people eager to visit your establishment.  

Gift card giveaways are also easy to host online. Giveaway contests can include rules such as:

  • Share the menu on Facebook
  • Leave a Google review to showcase customer satisfaction
  • Follow the Instagram account

If you’re considering in-person gift card giveaways, then events like raffles featuring high demand products will be fun attractions for the whole town to attend. 

Partner With Local Charities

People enjoy giving back to their community. It’s often a way to attend a social event while supporting fellow locals. 

Sports bars often support local charities by donating a portion of their proceeds to a particular fund. You’ll want to make sure that you promote your charity well in advance so that both parties have enough time to reach their audience. 

Types of organizations and charities that are often in need of donations include:

  • Zoos and animal shelters
  • Environmental clubs
  • Local hospitals 
  • Scholarship funds
  • Volunteer fire departments

Don’t forget to create digital assets featuring the bar’s and organization’s logo. Cross-collaboration on social media will be beneficial for both parties. It increases visibility and combines what might be two separate audiences. 

Sponsor Local Sports Teams

Supporting local teams is sure to generate a ton of awareness and sales. Youth and high school-level sports teams often need funding, and sports bars can step in to make a difference. 

Sponsored sports teams can promote your bar at home games and tournaments in exchange for your assistance. To give future customers a taste of what you offer (no pun intended), you can even supply food to such events. 

If you need more ideas to establish a functional bar setup and streamline restaurant operations upon opening a sports bar, check out our guide to writing a restaurant business plan


Frequently Asked Questions About Sports Bar Marketing Ideas

What Attracts Customers to A Bar?

You’ll quickly generate a vast customer base by serving great food and drinks at a reasonable price. Offer frequent specials, stay open during convenient times of the day, and provide excellent service. 

If you’re unsure how to price a menu, calculate your restaurant expenses and what successful competitors are charging customers. Find a balance between all of the figures and go from there. 

You can also attract new customers by posting consistently on social media and investing in advertisements. 

How Do You Grow A Sports Bar?

Focus on sports events and thematic specials to grow your sports bar. By keeping every aspect of your bar relevant to sports, you’ll also have more opportunities to effectively brand the establishment. 

How Do I Advertise My New Bar?

Paid advertising campaigns on social media are powerful ways to promote your new bar to a specific target audience. You can customize the target based on age, location, spending habits, etc. You can also invest in Google ads to accelerate your business’ visibility when consumers search for bars.

Ensure that your website is up to date and ready for advertising traffic, as this will be many customers’ first impressions of your bar. Plus, a digital marketing plan will assist a restaurant SEO strategy. 

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