Pubs are being encouraged to branch out and show more niche sports to draw in more punters.

71 per cent of customers in a survey, commissioned by Stonegate Pub Company and Molson Coors, said they follow at least one niche sport. Research shows that 26 per cent follow La Liga football with a further 21 per cent watching darts.

Other niche sports include women's football, NFL, wrestling and NBA basketball.

But why has this interest in niche sports grown?

Stephen Cooper, Sports Marketing Manager at Stonegate Pub Company said: "With continued advancements in streaming, sports in all forms is a huge growth area. Be it for live broadcast or smaller highlight packages, the appetite for slightly smaller or niche sports is in rapid growth.

"Not only does it provide more reasons for people to visit our venues but it allows us to engage with and host new audiences.

"With the rise of technology it is becoming far easier for consumers to digest sporting content away from football and rugby, be it through live broadcasts, apps or podcasts. As such, we've seen less mainstream sports grow in interest and profile with their fans being just as interested and passionate about watching live as one would typically expect with football or rugby.

"This year alone we have seen huge interest from our customers in sports such as La Liga, Women's Netball and football, wrestling and the likes of the NFL. As such, it is important that we provide our customers with access to live sport across the spectrum, not just the dominant sports, letting them dictate which ones are popular or not."

 

 If you think niche sports could work in your pub, here are five top tips:

 

1. Make it the right location: Make sure there is a certain level of interest and that customers would value the sports you intend to show.

2. Shout about it: Put up posters in the pub and put it on your noticeboards and events boards as well as putting it across all your social media channels.

3. Make it a spectacle: Put an effort in and decorate the pub. Look at themed food and drink depending on the location of the sport. If you're trying to push NFL, launch a deal on a burger and a pint, for example.

4. Make it feel like home: You want to be tempting your customers away from their living room so make the pub homely. Put lots of sofas and comfortable chairs out to enable people to get the best seats in the house.

5. Make it interesting: Consider getting some memorabilia for the sport you're pushing. Look at getting in replica trophies and offer punters a chance to have their picture taken with it. Launch a competition! Get the punters involved and immersed in the experience of it all.