We’re just a few days away until March Madness descends on America, and bars and restaurants must be on high alert. Buzzer beaters will be sunk, brackets will be busted and, as always, revenue will go through the roof. March Madness routinely rakes in around $1 billion in revenue every year, and your bar should be doing what is can to reap the benefits.
March Madness is an annual cash cow for bars, especially the opening weekend. With games all day from Thursday to Sunday, there are so many opportunities for your business to bring in new customers and increase your profits. Even if your business doesn’t consider itself a true “sports bar,” it doesn’t matter; if you have TVs, people will want to come watch the games. Also consider that, similar to the Super Bowl and NFL Sundays, March Madness transcends traditional sports viewing. The entire day is an event, meaning casual or even non-sports fans will want to tune in and be a part of it.
But of course, just having TV’s and broadcasting the games isn’t enough. You need to promote your March Madness party and give customers a real incentive to come to your instead of others. This takes some small, but smart planning and organization on your part, but if you get it right your bar can be the March Madness oasis customers are looking for.
Here are some tips to help take advantage of March Madness at your bar:
Root for the home team: It’s wise to market your bar as the de facto viewing location for a particular team. For instance, if you’re located in a city, state or region with a team playing in the Big Dance, make it apparent that no other place will be packed with more cheering for the home team than your bar. Simple, effective things you can do include hanging up signs and banners of the school and doing special promotions depending on the outcome of the game. One great thing you can do is offer shots or free drinks if the team wins, or something smaller for every 3 pointer made.
Organize a bracket pool: Everyone fills out a bracket. Everyone. Why? Because you don’t need to know anything about college basketball to win a March Madness pool. While legally your business can’t run a gambling pool, you can offer other incentives to the winners such as free food or drinks. Which brings us to our next point…
Drink and food specials: As we said before, just turning the games on isn’t enough. Everyone loves a bargain and offering specialty cocktails or a bucket of beers at a discounted price is a proven method to get more sales and foot traffic to your bar.
Promote your business: Now that you have your plan in place, it’s time to get the word out. In the days leading up to the first weekend of games, make sure you’re blasting announcements on your social media pages, alerting your followers what they can expect if they come to your bar. But with social media, you can’t just post once and let it sit. March Madness isn’t just one day or weekend; it goes on for about three weeks. Because of this, you need to be constantly posting throughout the tournament reminding people about your event.
Much like the games, anything can happen with your March Madness party. You just need to make sure you’re in position to sink the buzzer beater.