"Whacking on the 4pm game with the sound barely audible on a battered screen is the equivalent of having one dodgy lager and a packet of crisps on offer."

Could NFL really be the next big thing in pubs?

I'm sceptical, despite colleagues in the trade insisting that this could be a great opportunity.

I accept that it's a sport that is growing in popularity over here, but then so is cycling and that doesn't mean it makes for great viewing with a pint.

However, research released by sports marketing platform for the on trade, MatchPint, suggests that sports such as NFL could become increasingly significant for pubs that put sport at the heart of their businesses.

While football still drives the majority of trade, other events are needed to encourage customers to stay that little bit longer – or increase dwell time, as the men in suits like to put it.

The report, based on the views of sports fans and licensees, suggests that NFL and F1 are the fastest growing sports in pubs. The timings of these, Sunday afternoons and nights, create opportunities to get the sports fans in early or to stick around a little bit longer.

The theory is similar to what has been happening in the trade for years now. Pubs have had to be more nurturing with their customers. Whacking on the 4pm game with the sound barely audible on a battered screen is the equivalent of having one dodgy lager and a packet of crisps on offer.

Customers want and demand more. With sport this could be your audio-visual set-up, your drinks, viewing areas or even the way you promote what you do.

There were a few other interesting findings in the report, such as that sports fans spend more and spend longer in the pub, which flies in the face of the perception that fans nurse a pint and head straight out of the doors once the full time whistle goes.

Yes, there will be those who see you as an easy and inexpensive way of accessing live events but focus instead on the rugby or football fans who celebrate/commiserate long after the game they came in to watch has finished.

Also, customers choose sports venues based on location, atmosphere and screen quality. And while you can't do much about the first factor you can improve the other two.

As part of our #pubsgetonline campaign we are interested in finding out more about how live sport works in your business and the part promoting this through social media plays.

As part of this we will be debating the issue in a Twitter Storm from 3pm onwards tomorrow (30 September).

I hope you can join the debate. Someone might even convince me about NFL.