How to Prepare Your Business for Large Sports Viewings & Gatherings

Showing live sports: the essential guide to maximising floor space in sports bars and other venues showing televised sports and live events.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as legal or public health advice. Please always consult a knowledgeable professional advisor.

Summer 2021 is packed with major sporting events. Many anticipated finals that were postponed due to the pandemic in 2020 are now due to take place this year. With sports fans finally able to watch these events in public, there will likely be many busy venues across the UK on match days.

Highlights include:

  • The Tokyo Olympics – with a rescheduled start date of the 23rd July
  • Euros 2020 – due to start group rounds on the 12th June and runs until 11th July
  • Royal Ascot – running from the 15th to the 19th June
  • Wimbledon 2021 – with games taking place from the 28th June to the 11th July

How to maximise indoor and outdoor seating for viewing

Sports bars and other venues showing live televised sporting events have a new set of rules to follow post-lockdown. While many restrictions have been lifted, there are still plenty that should be accounted for when thinking about seating plans. Social distancing guidelines remain in place, meaning tables both inside and out must be spaced accordingly. Square for Restaurants software provides an all-in-one digital tool for maximising seating while adhering to social distancing regulations.

With the option to attend live sporting events still severely limited, viewers are now seeking the most cost-effective ways to watch high-quality footage of their favourite sporting events. Pubs, bars and restaurants advertising big-screen viewings for pay-per-view events may find their customer numbers increase as people look for the best possible places to watch.

How to make your venue safer

Keeping venues safer from a COVID perspective is essential for your customers and staff. Business owners need to ensure that all the proper measures are in place and communicated with visitors. While people are looking forward to opportunities to socialise in public once more, after a year of lockdowns, many want to know the pubs and sports bars they choose have systems in place to help keep them safe.

These systems include properly spaced seating following government guidelines, keeping individual groups apart. Table service is currently mandatory and many venues may consider keeping this system in place even as the lockdown roadmap advances and restrictions are eased – with floor plans to help people feel safer.

Implementing a clearly signposted one-way system throughout the venue helps to restrict the chances of traffic build-up in one area and encourages people to stick to the social distancing regulations.
Contactless ordering and card machines have boomed during the past year and most people expect contactless card payments or e-Wallet payments from their mobile devices as an additional safety measure at venues.

An online booking system can help businesses to keep track of all reservations and cancellations to ensure an adequate seating plan can be adhered to at all times. Customers can only book tables that are showing as available, which means accidental double-bookings are a thing of the past.

It’s all about the atmosphere

Having a dedicated member of staff available to greet people on arrival and see them to their tables has multiple benefits. Customers enjoy a personal service and feel welcomed. There is also little chance of people wandering around the venue in areas they should not be. Instead, they are taken directly to their table, which reduces contact between parties.

If customers have booked online and there is any personal information included in their booking, such as a birthday or special occasion, menu favourites or table preferences, staff can use this time to connect and show the customer they are valued.

Bring in the crowds

An online digital booking system does more for a business than managing bookings. It can also act as a useful customer database for information, which can then be used to influence marketing.

Letting people know live sporting events will be televised at a certain venue has the potential to draw in many customers, particularly if the venue is showing high-quality paid footage that they may not be able to access from home.

Social media is your ally when it comes to getting the message spread as far and wide as possible. You could also connect with local influencers who can share news of your events with a wider audience. Even something as simple as advertising televised sports on Facebook, Instagram or other social media networks helps ensure as many people as possible know where to go when they want to watch the Wimbledon final, the Olympics or any other global sporting event.