November 8, 2022 / News Why pre-game at the pub is booming

By Paul Valiontis

The pregame experience has always been an important sporting ritual.

Regularly on matchday, pubs and bars are packed with passionate supporters who have secured an empty seat and good food – often accompanied by an all important cold beer.

In recent months this trend has shown no signs of slowing.

A recent Sportsyear survey collated answers from hundreds of fans participating in the pre-game action.

72.5% agreed that food and beverage prices in stadiums were driving their decision to pre-game at their local, rather than head straight to the stadium.

“It’s not going to stop me going to games, but I will actively try drink more at the pub and have dinner here too, so I don’t have to spend money at the stadium.” explained Sydney FC fan, David.

“We always get to the pub two or three hours before the game, we get our drinking fix in early, so we don’t have to fork out ridiculous stadium costs.”

Sydney FC fans pre-game near Allianz Stadium (Pic: Bella Shepherd)
Sydney FC fans pre-game near Allianz Stadium (Pic: Bella Shepherd)


Prices in some large metropolitican stadiums in recent months have now reached an eye-watering high of $13.40 for a premium, full strength alcohoic drink.

As cost of living pressues rise around Australia, more and more fans are now looking at their local to pre-game and savvy operators are capitalising.

Pubs and bars with an eye on the upcoming schedule are often well placed to provide a more cost-effective option for fans, thanks to the merits of their own F&B offer.

Key digital marketing channels are being utilised to highlight upcoming local sports ground events in ways that will appeal to the pre-game crowd and create awareness.


Sportsyear Co-Founder Patrick Galloway says hospitality marketers shoud be aware of what appeals most to fans when pitching their pre-game offer.

Table space, pricing and walking distance to the local stadium are all key aspects of the sports fan's decision making journey.

"The Sportsyear survey also uncovered some powerful insights around the prospective loyalty of the pre-game patrons," said Galloway.

"85% of people said they'd return to the same venue for their next outing, if they had a quality experience."

"It's not about choosing a different venue each time, fans are habitual creatures and will usually opt for familiar, known experiences," he added.

Galloway says Sportsyear comes with purpose built solutions for marketers looking to tap into the pre-game opportunity that a nearby stadium provides.