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March Madness Proves Profitable for Restaurants, Bars

March 16, 2011 By: Alissa Ponchione


When college basketball season begins, most fans are anxiously looking forward to the NCAA tournament, not only to root on their alma mater but also to fill out the coveted NCAA bracket. The fact remains that March Madness, which started yesterday and ends April 4, gets everyone involved and everyone’s attention, and if your bar or club hasn’t yet worked out how to promote the games this season, then you’re definitely missing out on profits.

Survey: Reasons for Choosing Bar to Watch Basketball Games

According to the National Restaurant Association, 20% of consumers are likely to watch college basketball at restaurants or bars. What’s more, out of those surveyed, 34% of consumers choose to go to restaurants that offer special deals for the games, 25% choose the establishment with the best TVs, 19% choose the place with the best food and drink choices, 17% go to their favorite restaurant and bar, whereas 4% go to wherever fans of their favorite team will gather.

Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association said that it’s not just sports-themed establishments that benefit from March Madness, as “many restaurants and bars will attract a crowd during the upcoming games.”

Although more patrons in the establishment ultimately means higher sales, that doesn’t mean your business won’t also benefit from offering takeout or delivery; 16% of consumers will choose to order food and eat at home while 8% will go out to eat and 4% say they will do both.

The NRA surveyed 1,010 American adults, and though 24% men are more likely than the 15% of women to go out and watch the games, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cater to all genders and all ages. March Madness has broad appeal, and your business can benefit if you give your patrons what they want.


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