How to open a sports bar from scratch

Let’s take a step-by-step look at what needs to be done to get from the point “I have a cool idea” to the point “I have a profitable business.”

We analyze the market

Just like that, it would be very short-sighted to take and open a sports bar anywhere and for anyone. Firstly, such an institution is quite specific. On the one hand, this is a catering establishment. But it doesn’t look like a restaurant. On the other hand, it is something like an interest club. But to call it such, too, somehow the language will not turn.

It is very important to understand your target audience. After all, you will create an institution just for them. Visitors to sports bars are usually a young audience (mostly guys) who do not have much money, but they can easily afford to drink a mug or two of beer to the game of their favorite team. With the help of market analysis, you should find out how developed the sport is in your city and how many people are interested in it. Are there any sports clubs, large sections, etc.


You also need to research the market for competitors. Are there other sports bars? If so, where are they located, what is their pricing policy, what is the concept, how popular are they, etc.

We think over the concept

In order for your sports bar to truly become a fan favorite, it needs to be pitched the right way. If you just open an ordinary cafe, put some plasma TVs in it and turn on a sports channel on them, it will not be a sports bar yet. Think over everything to the smallest detail: a sports-themed interior, appropriate uniforms for employees, sports promotions, the ability to watch sports events by entire companies, and so on. You yourself will have to plunge into the sports world. Follow the events in the world of sports and broadcast all sports events of high and low importance. It’s great if you also sell sports souvenirs and symbols. Or maybe you will give a small gift to everyone who places an order for a certain amount or guesses the match score?

Finding a place

There are many options for a sports bar. You can open it in the city center. It will be expensive, but it will provide you with a steady flow of customers. On the outskirts of the city – it is also possible, but only if it is a densely populated area. A great option – close to entertainment centers or office buildings. But be sure to explore the area for competitors. Opening your own next to already successfully operating sports bars will most likely be unpromising. Of course, you can take a risk, but then your establishment should become 3, 5, 10 times better than your competitor in all respects.

The space for a sports bar will need a large one – about 200 square meters. This is not a cozy cafe for romantic meetings. Noisy and large companies will come to the sports bar, so they should have somewhere to “roam around”.

Menu development

A variety of alcoholic drinks should be on the sports bar menu. Be sure to have many types of beer, as this drink is especially loved by sports fans. And, accordingly, an appetizer. Set prices for food not high, it is better to tax by selling drinks. They will be bought anyway, and if the snack is quite cheap, this will play a positive role in the eyes of the client.

We buy equipment

If you do not take into account the broadcast of sports events, in all other respects the sports bar is a cafe. Therefore, in the hall for visitors there should be tables, preferably of different sizes, so that there is a place for both a small and a large company. Actually, the bar counter is also indispensable. Make the counter long enough so that visitors can also sit behind it.

The most important point in the equipment is TVs. The fact that they must be of high quality and expensive is clear. Think carefully about their correct location, perhaps even hire a consultant on this issue. The size of TVs should correspond to the distance from which they will be viewed. That is, of course, large-screen TVs will be a priority, however, if they are located very close to the tables, it will be uncomfortable to watch them.

Make sure that absolutely every seat has a good view of at least one of the screens. You will broadcast sports events live from the Internet. Enlist the support of a super reliable ISP. Can you imagine the outrage your emotionally heated customers will have if the broadcast fails in the middle of an important match? It’s probably best not to think about it.

On normal days, you can show sports channels (select the most interesting ones), or repeat the most interesting competitions from different sports in the recording.

Furniture try to buy as safe as possible. In your establishment they will drink, sometimes a lot. There may be disagreements among clients (especially if fans of different teams meet). Why give them the opportunity to cripple each other with chairs? Place either upholstered furniture, or one that is difficult to even budge.


Putting in marketing efforts

Marketing for business is not a one-time activity. This is a permanent process that should never stop. Even before starting a business, you should take care of the following points:

1. Appearance of a sports bar. The project will be successful only if good content is put into a beautiful wrapper. Make an attractive sign. With all her appearance, she must say that this is a sports bar, and nothing else. External showcases would also be nice to arrange in a sporty design. If conditions allow, make some signs directing passers-by to your establishment and place them around it.

2. Advertising campaign. Advertise everywhere you can: on the street (flyers), in the subway, on local TV, radio, on the Internet. If there is a popular video blogger in your city, pay him money to tell him in his next podcast that “a posh place is opening soon at…”, etc. Collaborate with local sports clubs and sections. Hanging a poster in their lobby won’t cost you much. But you can immediately attract the attention of a large number of your target audience. After all, it often happens that a person is interested in sports in general, despite the fact that he is engaged in some one of his species.

3. Shares. People love promotions and sweepstakes. For them, it is fun and exciting, as well as the opportunity to get something for free or at a discount. Try to hold promotions by some important sports date – the beginning of the Olympics or the Champions League, on the eve of the expected match, etc. And the prize, too, of course, should be valuable to your customers.

Sports bar business plan
The amount of investment can vary greatly depending on the level of the establishment you are creating. You can spend completely different amounts on interior decoration, as well as on the purchase of equipment. Approximate calculations are as follows:

  1. Equipment: from 9 thousand dollars;
  2. Rent and repair of premises: from 4 thousand dollars;
  3. Furniture: from 2 thousand dollars;
  4. Decoration and design: from 3 thousand dollars;
  5. The first purchase of drinks and products: from 2 thousand dollars;
  6. Wages for staff: from 2 thousand dollars;
  7. Marketing campaign including promotions: from 4 thousand dollars.

The average profitability of such a business is 13-14%.