Bar Marketing Strategy

Promoting a sport bar [Case Study]

Sports Bar Marketing Ideas

This is my experience of marketing sports bar. You can get some sold bar promotion ideas and strategies. Of course, your case would be somewhat different so feel free to twist the basic concepts and adjust them to match you the best. Moreover, promoting a bar is not much different from marketing restaurant, coffee shop or a boutique food store.

Recently a friend of mine asked me what I think about him opening a sports bar. I encouraged him, he had some experience working at a bar and generally keeps his things organized and well planned so he should be able to handle it.

The tricky thing is that he wanted to open an UK style sports bar in Bulgaria (Eastern Europe). Thus, the cultural differences may be an issue.

Bar Marketing Ideas
UK Style Sports Bar


Few weeks ago he told me that 2 months after opening the things are not going so well and ask me to revise the situation, and so I did.

It was easy to notice that although the cultural differences the bar is a nice one – its location is decent, girls do not mind entering the bar which is extremely important even for a sports bar. Generally, he managed to build some loyal audience and from the feedback I understood they like the bar. His main problem was the promotion of the bar.

Every product nowadays needs some marketing, everything is so competitive that even if you had best product and you are giving it for free it would be difficult without marketing it properly.

The only promotion that was done was handling some leaflets just after opening and since then nothing. For me it was evident that people are ok with the bar and its concept, despite the cultural differences so the only thing necessary to be done is more and better promotion.

My marketing strategy for the bar

Bar Marketing Strategy
Bar Marketing Strategy

I believe that in this case the best return on investment will be achieved if we focus only on Facebook. For a mass market restaurants, bars, boutique chocolate/sweet store and etc. Facebook can do miracles. So here it is what I did:


Facebook Ads

I launched $20 ad campaign to see how it will go. The bar has a decent website with a “Promotion” section and so we created one especially for a Saturday night derby game and I promoted the link with a very simple text – Watch Team A – Team B at “Our Sportsbar” – Pay 2 beers get 3.

Facebook enables you to choose people from particular city, select their age and also select their interests. So I choose the city, age between 18-35 and also selected as interests – “soccer”, “football”, “I love football”, “team A” and “team B”.

The promotion went for about 3 days. The average costs was 0.06$ – yes in Bulgaria it is so cheap to advertise, but even if it is much more expensive it is still worth to do it. I put a another phone number on the website just for those 3 days to see how many reservation would be made – it was just 1 table for 5 people reserved but the bar was decently full that night. Furthermore, we managed to connect with a much broader audience in Facebook.

Before the Facebook page was just 126 likes, after the ad campaign we had about 200. Not much of a difference but still a step in a positive direction.


Facebook Page

Another part of my strategy was to reach my target audience more often. I started uploading content to the Facebook page 4-5 times a day. Because of the Facebook algorithm lately I emphasized a lot on videos.

You can check here how different post type perform in 2015.

What type a videos are good for a sports bar? – Football ones – funny, tricks, goals, interesting situations. Although I had only about 200 fans I was managing to get 10-15 actions and more than 200-300 views every time.

Furthermore, after the comment line for the video I always do tagged our Facebook page to boost our fan base.


Deals on most popular events

The concept is the same as the promotion I launched and advertise. We just need to do that much more often. It is not necessary always to advertise those deals, we can just post them on our page for our loyal fans.

However I continue to advertise once a week.


Create events on Facebook

Events on Facebook are working great. The best part is that you can actually advertise an event. So I created one – again with a promotion for a derby game. Invited all the fans I could and then launched an ad. This went very well and 405 are “going” at the end.

Unfortunately, I could not determine which one of the two paid promotions was more effective. It is because we did so many things and the popularity of the bar was growing fast anyway. So to do an adequate A/B testing I would need more time and bigger sample size.

Anyway the event strategy is working fine and you can even go much deeper into it – here it is a comprehensive guide about promoting an event on Facebook.


Spam relevant Facebook group with offers

There is nothing wrong in spamming. At least I believe so. But still you have to do it the right way. I do not like the idea to launch a bot and spam every possible group on Facebook.

Choose carefully, 5-10 groups and focus on them. Then go to some others. In our case we want to promote sports bar so I want to “Chelsea Fans in Bulgaria”, “Real Madrid Bulgaria” and so on.

I picked up 10 football clubs and found their fan group for Bulgaria. I was waiting for any of those teams to have a game and then 2 days earlier I post the link to the promotion page of our website asking has anyone tried this.

Then on the same day of the game posted again declaring I and some other fans of this football club are going to enjoy the game in this particular sports bar and everyone is welcome to join us.

On same time, my friend – the owner of the bar, contacted the admins of those groups and asked them where they gather to watch games and offer them good group promotions, options to make special events and etc.

Although you may thing that is a perfect strategy it took us time. Initially, there was no effect, I had no idea why but decided to continue. Finally, my friend managed to get 50-60 people to come and watch the game – a group of fans agree to make this bar the meeting points for the games of their club.



At the end all our efforts started to pay back and the bar gradually become more visited. I helped him for about a month and then it was evident that the things are now much more different. Sometimes when you are an owner you concentrate too much to run the business and literally there is no time to stop and think about your strategy, the problems, how to grow and etc. This could be costly in long run and so you should be careful if you are missing some value.

Be Sociable, Share!

4 thoughts on “Promoting a sport bar [Case Study]”

  1. Hello Kaloyan,

    I have a sports bar in Atlanta. I have tried before to use social media to attract customers but it did not deliver results for me. However, I was just advertising. Now I put some of your ideas to promote a particular event or a deal and things are working much better. Very useful post.

    Thank you!


    John Mattew

  2. Hi Kaloyan,

    I would like to know your opinion about the following situation:

    My bar is on a busy street, it is not just a sports bar but more like normal one with big screens when there is a popular game on the TV. Generally, there is more than enough food traffic in front so I believe it not necessary to advertise in addition online but only to try to get as much of what is there. What do you think about that? Is my strategy/approach wrong because I feel we can attract much more customers but it is not happening? :(

    1. Hi Samantha,

      Thank you for your question it is very interesting case.

      First of all, it is very likely that big percentage of the foot traffic in front of your bar is a destination one. In other words, although, there are a lot of people on that street, they already know where they are going. Thus, no matter how good deals, signs and leaflets you handout in front of your entrance it will not bring the desire outcome.

      Of course, you should do that, but on same time diversify the risk and also invest in online ads. A Facebook promotion may cost you as little as $1, for 10 bucks you can actually make a decent campaign and bring people or at least gather fans or collect some emails, depending what is your secondary target of the campaign. Anyway your bar marketing strategy should not be targeting only the people passing next to your bar but people in your area in general.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *