The squads have been picked, the phoney war is underway and it won't be long before the real action starts in New Zealand. A British & Irish Lions tour comes but once every four years and here's six reasons you can make the most of it.

1. Early starts

On paper the 8.35am kick off times do not look great for pubs but how much money would your business usually be making at that time of the day? By opening the doors you are already one kick ahead of the competition.




2. Ratings

You should have plenty of interested customers. The First Test against Australia in 2013 attracted 900,000 viewers according to Sky. That's equivalent to a top Premier League game.


3. Breakfast

Of course many rugby fans will want a pint (Doom Bar is the official beer sponsor for the tour) but those that do and those that don't will no doubt want to eat at that time of day. If you get them eating early the chances are you can prolong their time with you.



4. Keeping them in

As alluded to above, if you get the offers right you can keep customers in even longer. Themed breakfasts, meal deals and perhaps offers on New Zealand wine could all do a job. You could also offer discounts if a certain number of tries or points are score or if a chosen player gets on the scoresheet.


5. Going soft

For all those who want to start on the sauce early there will be plenty of others who would prefer a soft drink, especially now that one in five adults drink no alcohol at all. Amy Burgess, trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, says: "For occasions when people are going to be in the pub for a long time, operators should consider focusing on their soft drinks selection, as many people will opt to alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the day."




6. More sport

Sky are keen to point out there is plenty more sporting action this summer, some coming on directly after the rugby. Damian Saunders, strategy & commercial director at Sky Business, says: "Both the ICC Champions Trophy and England's opening Test match against South Africa coincide with the rugby as PGA Tour golf, so there really is lots on offer to help landlords put on bumper summer weekends of sport for their customers."




Test Fixtures

June 24 New Zealand All Blacks V British & Irish Lions, 8.35am
July 1 New Zealand All Blacks v British & Irish Lions, 8.35am
July 8 New Zealand All Blacks v British & Irish Lions, 8.35am

All matches live on Sky Sports 1