We're nearing that nail-biting time of year when the trophies are handed out to sporting champions. Here are some tips on how to make sure fans enjoy those dramatic moments with you.
Make it a royal affair
The FA Cup Final is traditionally the final game of the domestic campaign. This year it shares a date withanother big domestic tie — the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — on May 19.
The Cup Final (and Scottish Cup Final) can be celebrated late into the night, with pubs that have a traditional closing time of 11pm being given permission to blow the final whistle at 1am instead. Make sure you are ready for extra time.
Get May 26 in the diary
This could be one of the biggest trading days for sports pubs, with Champions League, Championship Play-Off and rugby's Aviva Premiership being decided on the same day. It should be full of tears, cheers and beers.
Let your customers know
Knowing the key dates is one thing — but you've got to get the message out there. Sky Business marketing director Tracy Harrison says: "Post the fixtures you'll be showing to your pub's Facebook, Twitter or Instagram feed and keep doing so. It's important to do it multiple times, as you don't know when exactly your customers will be online to see each post. Repeat posts ensure more people can see it."
Ram the message home
Don't forget to push the message inside your four walls as well. Sky and BT Sport, which between them will screen most of the big events, have a range of social assets and point-of-sale designed to help you promote matches. Use them.
Bruce Cuthbert, director for commercial customers at BT Sport, advises: "Create match day offers and specials tailored to the cup final teams and the competitions. But pubs also need to make sure all their customers know their venue is the place to be for these events by promoting their plans both in venue and across social media."
Keep it interesting
As mentioned above, you can create extra interest with promotions designed around games. First-scorer sweepstakes or half-price drinks until the first goal are simple ways of adding to the fun. Tracy suggests using social channels to promote the competitions, adding: "Create some interaction on social media by offering customers the chance to win a VIP area in your premises for the upcoming matches."
Top up energy levels
Fans will want to eat but they will want to keep it as simple as possible. This is where handheld options such as burgers, chips, pizzas and chicken wings can take centre stage. Tracy says: "People who have come to watch sport are going to be there for an hour minimum, so they are already a great target audience to upsell food to."
Keep up the pace
On high-traffic days you are likely to want fast-service solutions.
Lager lanes and buckets of beer will ensure people can get what they want without spending too long away from the big screen.
Pick your best players
You will need your best team on the bar for busy days. Ensure they are informed about who's playing who and they are ready for the action. Team kits or easily identifiable tops could help on a busy bar.
Be part of the action
While the big games are being played out on the big screen, there is also a chance for your pub team to make an impact on the field of play. The BT Sport Pub Cup also takes place in May, giving pub teams the chance to play at some of the best grounds in the country.
Do your homework
Take a note of everything that works and everything that doesn't during the cup final season. Those lessons could come in handy in June when the FIFA World Cup kicks off.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Saturday, May 5 5.30pm
SSE Women's FA Cup Final BBC
Friday, May 11 8pm
European Challenge Cup Final (Rugby Union) Sky Sports, BT Sport
Saturday, May 12 4.45pm
European Champions Cup Final BT Sport, Sky Sports
Sunday, May 13 3pm
Last day of Premier League Sky Sports
Wednesday, May 16 7.45pm
Europa League Final BT Sport
Saturday, May 19, 5.15pm
Emirates FA Cup Final BBC, Sky Sports
Saturday, May 19 TBC, 3pm
Scottish FA Cup Final BBC Scotland,Sky Sports
Saturday, May 26 3pm
Aviva Premiership Final BT Sport
Saturday, May 26 7.45pm
Champions League Final BT Sport
EFL Play-Off Finals Sky Sports