“The pub is as much a part of rugby as is the playing field” – John “Todder” Dickenson (1950’s England Rugby Player)
This certainly is as true today as it was in the 1950’s only more so. With the advent of the Rugby World Cup in 1987 this truly international tournament is now the largest sporting event after the Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. This year’s Rugby World Cup being held in New Zealand should be a corker with England in with a chance for glory!
It’s still not too late to participate in this great trade building opportunity for your pub. With matches being shown live, for free on ITV, pubs have a great opportunity to either extend their trading hours by showing matches live or by hosting special screenings via the internet using the ITV player at a time more convenient to their customers than some of the early kick-offs.
If your permitted hours do not permit early opening (some of the coverage commences at 6.30 am UK time) then you will need to apply for a Temporary Event Notice for each match you show. Unfortunately with a minimum 10 working days notice required if you haven’t already applied you’ll need to hurry to even show the quarter finals. Friday, September 23rd 2011 (yes that's tomorrow) will probably be the last working day on which you can effectively serve these notice applications to your local licensing authority.
If you are going to support England, as I will be (not wishing to show too much partiality) then there are some rucking fantastic things you can offer.
On the food front if you are having an early showing then why not offer up a breakfast and beer meal deal or for evening showings then why not a good old English Bangers, Mash and Cask Ale?
There are some great real ales available to key in to the English theme – London Pride and Bombardier are just two that come to mind.
Don’t forget to deck out your bar and TV areas with plenty of St George (England) flags and bunting. You can show your pub’s support for England by kitting your bar staff out in England tee-shirts
How about an offer to your customers of England memorabilia (key rings, Zippo lighters) as prizes in a draw or quiz?
Don’t forget “Beer and Rugby are more or less synonymous” as Chris Laidlaw, the New Zealand All Black once said.