We all know that football and rugby are at the top of the league when it comes to pulling in punters to watch a game. But why stop there? There are so many sports that could create the atmosphere and excitement to get people off their sofas and into your pub.

 

One sport that has a niche but fast-growing audience in this country is American Football. Taking place on Sunday, Super Bowl 54 will offer another opportunity to allow punters to connect with NFL and to enjoy a night in the pub.

Granted, it's taking place in Miami, which is five hours behind, so it's a late night. But many people will enjoy staying up late to watch the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers.

The Belushi's chain of bars hosts big parties for the Super Bowl. Alex Philiotis is manager of Belushi's in London Bridge. He says: "We try to enhance the experience as best as we can for the customer and we have built up a big fan base. The Super Bowl party is fantastic. People have a
brilliant time."

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It's not enough though, Alex reckons, simply to stick the Super Bowl on the telly. For Belushi's the success of the event rides on them building a whole day out of it.

"We have a huge pre-game party with cheerleaders on site and it builds up a fantastic atmosphere," he says. "We really focus on the atmosphere. The food and drink complements it."

The pub also hosts NFL Sundays, where the focus is on all NFL games.

"People come in, watch it and make an event of it," Alex adds. "We try and do as much as we can to get people in early so they can really enjoy the game. It's definitely a growing sport in the UK and pubs should take advantage of it."

Hayley Pipe, UK marketing manager for Beds & Bars, agrees. She says: "It's about trying to get people out of their home. There has got to be something extra to make people to come out with their mates.

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"We have got to make sure that we focus on making it a social occasion as well as being about watching the sport."

Stephen Cooper, sports marketing manager at Stonegate Pub Company adds: "With continued advancements in streaming, sports in all forms is a huge growth area. 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.

"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.

"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."