It’s no secret here at JD Systems that we are soccer (that is, European football, or Futbol,) fans. The owner’s son plays, and several of our sports bar clients make an extra effort to ready their venues for events like the World Cup.
It’s not just us, either. Soccer has seen a steady increase in viewership since 1994, when the World Cup was staged in the United States. The U.S. made it to the knockout stage of the tournament, only to be eliminated by Brazil in what went on to be one of the most memorable Word Cups of the modern era. That’s when U.S. sports bar owners, television networks, sports merchandise manufacturers, etc., first began injecting money into Major League Soccer.
Fast forward to 2007, and enter L.A. Galaxy player David Beckham. The league finally got the global superstar it needed to take off in the states, with our emphasis on celebrities and sports personalities. With Beckham earning a cool $225 million during his time in the U.S., other superstars followed in his steps. Players like Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard (both LA Galaxy), Kaka (Orlando), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto) and David Villa (New York City) helped to make the league the strongest it’s ever been.
Why Should Sports Bar Owners Care?
If you’re a New York or New Jersey sports bar owner looking to tap into additional streams of revenue, soccer is the key. I distinctly remember hanging out afterhours during the InfoComm Show in 2014, watching AV integrators and manufacturers, gathered around the flat screens in the hotel bar watching the World Cup. There we were, in Las Vegas, an entire city’s worth of entertainment right outside the door, and our eyes were transfixed on a soccer game.
This season, 479,000 U.S. viewers tuned in to watch each television Premier League game, a 9 percent increase from 2013/2014. The 2015/2016 season promises to be the Premier League’s most competitive in years, Chelsea favourites to regain their title regardless of losing to Manchester City in their second game of the season.
Soccer is growing, and you don’t want to miss out.
Promote Soccer in Your Sports Bar
The good news is, your sports bar is already primed to promote soccer, and you don’t have to do a thing. NBC Sports carries the Premier League games, so you don’t have to buy additional satellite sports packages. Whether you have cable or DirecTV, you’re ready to broadcast the games.
The JD Systems team recently completed an installation in a local sports bar whose main draw is soccer, and I see this as a growing trend. But even if most of your clients lean toward the traditional U.S. sports, you can still tap into soccer to appeal to a broader market and even turn your existing customers onto another exciting sport to watch, giving them yet another reason to visit your bar, stay longer, eat and drink more…. You get the idea.
Consider running some promotions. Take advantage of the low-cost of SMS advertising and social media marketing. Reach out to the soccer fans in the ways that have always worked best for you. Digital signage in front of your venue, if your city code allows, can capture great foot traffic on game night.
Get Your Audio Video Systems Ready for Soccer
Next, it’s time to take a close look at your audio video systems. Do they need are upgrade? Do you have enough screens? Are you in a position to capture the crowd’s attention and make your New Jersey or New York sports bar the place to be to watch soccer?
The soccer season runs from August to May, making it great for February and March sports fans, when football has just ended and baseball has yet to begin. With Major League Baseball viewership falling, soccer could be the thing to get people into your venue in late summer through the fall – especially if none of the New York baseball teams made it to the pennant race.
You’ll want to make sure your screens are placed optimally, allowing the diehard fans to watch two, three or more games without turning their head. Your goal should be that every fan can watch any game, without moving, no matter where he’s sitting.
At times, you may want to put the soccer game on the main screen, running baseball on the peripheral screens. (We know American football will always take center stage here in New York.)
You want to make sure soccer fans can feel immersed in the experience. Watching any game at your sports bar should be as much fun as watching it live at the stadium – and that’s no different for soccer. We have a lot of passionate soccer fans here in New York; it’s time to capture the market in your neighborhood.
Reliable Audio Video Systems Are the Key
There’s one more point we have to make: When you embrace soccer fans, you’re adding an entire season of viewing. It’s simply not an option to have your audio video systems fail with so many different games playing and so many people counting on you.
When you have your audio video systems designed and installed by JD Systems, we are there for you. We’ll install rock-solid audio, video and control components you can trust. But if something does happen before a big game (any game!) we’re always on call to help out. Whether we remote troubleshoot your system or send out a truck, we’ll get your systems up-and-running. We are sports fans ourselves, and we understand how important every game is to your customers.
We’re as happy as anyone to see European Football reach the American mainstream. When you start to recognize the profit potential, you’ll be happy, too.