Do you know what I want? A place where I can go to watch GWS or Swans games with other GWS or Swans fans. Yes, it’s Sydney, but that doesn’t mean I know very many GWS and Swans fans. And if I get my way and end up in Melbourne in a few years (working for the AFL, of course) I’m going to know even fewer GWS and Swans fans. There are a few bars that say they play all the Swans games but should be easier than it is to find them (if anyone wants to know, Dick’s in Balmain is my new favourite place to watch games – can’t wait until the season starts again). Even harder is finding other NBL and ABL fans. Other than the people I know who work for NBL and ABL teams and leagues, I don’t know very many people who are keen to watch the game. So why not partner with a venue? Since it’s Australia, it should probably be a bar (have you ever told Aussies they can’t drink while watching sport? Yea – you probably don’t want to) although you’d want to have an alternate venue for families… more on that later. Ideally, a bar will pay for the privilege of being a preferred venue. This allows the clubs and leagues to make money. If it proves to be effective, venues may eventually start trying to outbid each other, making even more money for clubs and leagues. If a specific venue wants to be the only venue? Then there may be a sponsorship involved. Probably not something as big as, say, Volkswagen, but something substantial. It really depends on the venue. Not only does this create another revenue source for clubs and leagues but it also builds goodwill in the community, since local businesses will benefit from the income provided by game day goers buying drinks at their bar. Even more useful are the bonds that this will foster amongst fans. This will strengthen a fan’s connection not only to other fans/members, but also to their club or league. At this point… clubs need to do everything they can to try and foster that loyalty. Here are a few ideas for a sports team partnering with a bar.
- Select bars in other cities as a preferred venue for clubs so out-of-city fans can meet one another. For instance, have a venue in Perth where Hawthorn fans can get together to watch the games.
- Have a pre-game drinks there. Maybe get a bus from the bar to the stadium? Or just choose one that’s a quick walk.
- Use it for post-game meet-ups. Bonus points if you do a free-drink-when-you-show-your-ticket/member car’ deal.
- Send players there after games to mix and mingle with fans. In Orlando, a few of my friends know the places the Magic go to after home games and therefore, that’s where they go. Players don’t need to get blitzed, but who doesn’t want to have a drink with their favourite player?
- Host pre/post-season events. Remember when I said to get rid of the NAB Cup and host parties instead? Where better to host parties than a sports bar?
- Give bars exclusive access to merchandise, tickets, or other paraphernalia. For raffles, door prizes… whatever. I mean – you have to make it worth while for the bar, right?
- Change venues each week to spread goodwill in the community. Let everyone get a piece of the pie.
- Finals watching parties. This would be particularly useful for leagues – I’m thinking one BIG finals party in each capital city, or other big cities around the country. Or for clubs that are in the finals, but not in the finals city. For instance, the AFL Grand Final is in Melbourne, but if Port Adelaide are in it, then you probably want to have a finals party in Adelaide, you know?
- League-themed pub crawl, anyone? Oh. My. God. Best idea ever – give each bar on the crawl a ‘club.’ Maybe a special cocktail. And you get a free drink at the venue who has the club you support (i.e. if you’re decked out in Wollongong Hawks gear, you get a free drink at the ‘Wollongong Hawks bar’).
Ah, I do love giving my ideas away. Thoughts? Feedback? Hate drinking? TELL ME.