Baseball season is underway and if you run a sports bar (or any bar with a television) it is time to start planning some baseball promotions that will convince customers to watch the game at your establishment rather than a host of other options. The beauty of baseball-related promos is that you have the whole season calendar planned out in advance; and it’s a nice, long season. So, how can you make your baseball promo a success? Here are three tips to help you get started:
- Know your target. Do you want to appeal to the diehard fans? The occasional viewers? The ladies? Think about your current customer base and assess how you would like to grow or alter it. Game ticket giveaways could be a great way to attract the diehard fans. If you want to market to couples, try having baseball on some TVs and another popular option on others. That way, coming to your bar is the best option to keep everyone happy.
- Know your competition. If there are 50 other bars broadcasting the game nearby, see assess what they are doing to attract customers and figure out how you can be different. If you live in an area where there is a large fan base for a team outside of your city, try marketing your bar as the fan hangout for that team. If that kind of thing is likely to get you killed (I know how it is in Boston), offer unique food, drinks or activities instead to draw in more customers.
- Make your promotion enticing. Regardless of your location and target demographics, you are going to have some competition. Here are some ways to entice customers into your bar for game time:
- Have baseball-themed drink specials. This is a popular way to get fans to stop and take notice of your bar. Possible drink specials include:
- The Strikeout: One beer and two shots
- The Pinch Hitter: Add a half price well shot with a beer purchase
- The Juiced-up Slugger: Vodka Red Bull
- The Junk Ball: Mix all the well alcohols together with soda
- Have a ticket giveaway for a game against the big rivals. This is a very enticing prize that can draw in large crowds, provided you advertise heavily to get the word out and ensure your costs are covered.
- Provide happy hour style specials. A lot of bars have happy hour deals during sports games, so you will have to present a deal that is perceived as particularly valuable. Offering a high-profit menu item at a significantly reduced price will seem like a great deal to your customers without forcing you to spend out of pocket. Learn more about happy hour promotions.
- Offer freebies of popular stadium snacks. Many baseball fans look forward to stadium treats as much as watching the game. Beat stadium prices and offer species that include stadium favorites in one fair price. Specials can include a beer and a hot dog for $4 or a house margarita and nachos for $8.
- Hold off-time promotions. One problem with the baseball season is that the schedule can be sporadic. Teams might be playing at odd hours of the day or not at all. Holding promotions on off-days or hours will give customers something to do during downtime and keep you ahead of the competition.
- Give away a round of shots when a favorite player makes a home-run. Home-runs don’t happen so often that this promotion will put your bar out of business, and it is a great way to create a sense of community and loyalty among your patrons.
- Give away a round of shots when a hated enemy hits a ball into a double-play. The only thing that creates solidarity better than rallying around a hero is rallying against a villain.
- Take a cue from the minor leagues and do something totally ridiculous. Minor league baseball is notorious for holding silly promotions to get locals to come out and show some support. Depending on your demographic, this could be the right move for you. Why not try an Altoona style “Awful Night,” in which you serve awful food (in their case: spam sandwiches) and show David Hasselhoff clips between innings? It is a surprisingly popular event. (Source)
Overall, if you put in the time to assess your target demographic, scope out your competition and come up with a creative promotion, there is no reason you can’t win big with the baseball crowd from now until the World Series!