March is here and for sports fans, that means college basketball! Wings, fries, tots, pizza, burgers, beer, what more could you need? Oh that’s right, the game!
If you’ve got a TV or two and some tasty food and cold brews to serve your patrons, you’ve got the perfect recipe for a game day set-up. We’re sharing five tips to make your establishment the go-to spot for the tournament
1. Go into the game with a plan.
It’s important to remember a couple of things before you start promoting for these sporting events. It is illegal to run a betting pool around the NCAA tournament. You should also remember that NCAA terms are trademarked, so just like the Super Bowl, you may want to avoid running promos using the actual term “March Madness.”
You also need to make sure you are familiar with the schedule for the tournament so you can pre-plan your events and start advertising them well in advance. Below is the tournament schedule:
Selection Sunday – March 11
“First 4” Games – March 13 & 14
First Round – March 15 & 16
Second Round – March 17 & 18
Sweet 16 – March 22 & 23
Elite 8 – March 24 & 25
Final 4 – March 31
National Title – April 2
Make sure you know what times the games will be on and have them on (even during lunch). You’d be surprised how many people will step out of the office during lunchtime to catch some of the game.
2. Use social media to advertise.
In this day and age, this one should be a no brainer. Make sure you get your events planned well in advance and start promoting early and often. It’s important to incorporate different types of media in your posts. Do you have a drink special for your favorite team? Make sure you get a photo and include it in your post! Are you running a contest? Go live with your customers and share the fun! It’s also important to include any specials you will be offering. Don’t forget to show off your game time setup! Do you have large flat screens? How many? Make sure you show your customers they can have an experience with you that they can’t get at home.
3. Have your own half-time show.
Everyone knows college basketball isn’t known for the most exciting half-time shows. Use this as a time to keep your customers interested and run your own contests. Get a back door or portable basketball game. How about a pong “trick shot” contest? There are plenty of ways to get creative and keep your customers entertained (and maybe even work up a thirst). Offer a gift certificate or free appetizer to the winner.
4. Have your own brackets.
You can still run brackets as long as they are free to enter. Having a contest where patrons can win discounts or freebies will entice customers to come in and kick things off. They will also want to come back in to see where they stand. Get free brackets here.
You don’t need to stick to tournament brackets. Use this as an opportunity to create your own! If your specialty is burgers, do a “Best Burger” bracket to crown a winner. This adds a little fun to the meal, and also allows you to do some research on what your customers crave most. You can offer a special on the winner.
5. Show your team spirit!
Last but not least, don’t forget to make your establishment game time worthy! Whether it’s your windows, bar, or even your employees, showing some team spirit will show your customers that your place is the place to be. This can also include dressing up your menu. Offer cocktail or menu specials centered around your favorite teams. Be sure to get your customers involved too! Offer prizes on key game days for “the most spirited” outfit or dressing up like a team mascot. It’s a great way to create a buzz and get some content for you to share on social media.
We hope these tips make your March a very successful one!