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Racing Toward the Finish Line

August 15, 2012 By: Alissa Ponchione


Sports and bars are two things that always go together—making sports bars ever so popular. With the array of sporting events that take place there is always a unique opportunity to capitalize on a profitable sports promotion. In Denver, CO the Tavern Uptown did just that. At the end of this month they will be hosting the final day of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

The event, entering its second year, welcomes more than 130 of the world’s best cyclists, with riders enduring the scenic but treacherous Rocky Mountains for the 683-mile challenge. Last year, the event saw 1 million spectators and will be hoping for more during this year's race, held from August 20–26.

Helen Wood, director of marketing of Tavern Hospitality Group, which owns the Tavern Uptown along with multiple other establishments in the Denver area, says the Tavern Uptown has partnered with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, but has also been named the official race Fan Zone for the final leg of the race in Denver on Sunday, August 25.

Since the race will pass twice in front of Tavern Uptown, it was the perfect opportunity to become involved, Wood adds, which means the restaurant and bar will be welcoming an influx of crowds. With thousands of spectators along the race route cheering on their favorite cyclists, Tavern Uptown’s biggest challenge was how to strategically maximize their involvement.   

To capitalize on this, the Tavern Uptown is hosting a promotion, where guests can enter to win prices by visiting Tavern’s Facebook page and clicking on the USA Pro Cycling Contest button. “We’ll randomly draw names from our Facebook entrees the week of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge,” she explains.

The grand prize is a ride with the official time trial caravan during Sunday’s race. “The winner and the guest will follow in a car behind a pro-rider and the rider’s team car during the race,” Wood says. “This is invaluable because people aren’t able to buy this on their own.” The prize also includes two VIP passes to the Founders Box and the exclusive Finish Line Suite.

Other prices include: 12 VIP passes to the Bike Bistro during the race at Civic Center Park, with complimentary food and beverage; 12 VIP passes to the exclusive post party at Tavern Downtown, where many of the riders will be; and 30 USA Pro Cycling official merchandise packs will be given to guests at the Tavern Uptown on race day.

Wood says the Tavern Uptown was a natural choice. In fact, “the organizers of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge approached us because they were interested in partnering with us for the event.”

Planning the event took approximately two months, and Woods said the main challenge was determining the best method to have guests enter for prizes. “We have a big Broncos promotion that’s going on at the same time, so we needed to make sure the two entry methods were different to prevent confusion.”

From there, marketing was done mostly in-house, as well as on social media sites. Wood explains that the “biggest in-house method is our ad screen system. We have 100 ad screens throughout all of six Taverns that allow us to inform our guests of any specials or promotions that we have.”

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is a big event for the Tavern Uptown, as new guests will be able to see everything the bar has to offer. “We are always trying to come up with unique ideas that appeal to our guests,” Wood says. “It’s a great way to draw both new guests to our Taverns and increase visits from our regular clientele.”


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