13 Marketing & Promotions Tips for the Big Game

The biggest football game—and most-watched American televised broadcast—of the year is this weekend. There’s still time to dial in your marketing efforts and grab your portion of the big dollars out there.

These days, people are used to waiting until the day before or even day of to finalize their plans. We asked two Bar & Restaurant contributors for their top tips for programming this weekend’s big event.

Nick Fosberg is the founder and CEO of Bar Restaurant Success. Doug Radkey is the founding partner and lead consultant of KRG Hospitality. Both are experienced and successful operators, consultants, authors, and marketing specialists.

But before we get to their top tips, we want to look at a promotion we appreciate for several reasons. It’s not overly complicated, it leverages food and beverage perfect for sports events, the name is creative and fun (and skirts potential legal consequences from a particular sports organization *wink wink*), and it has the potential to draw people in from early afternoon to late night.

A Promotion We Love

Now, all experienced operators and most new to running the show in this business know there are restrictions in place when it comes to creating a promotion for the big sporting event this weekend and advertising it.

One of the most creative promotions we’ve come across comes from Eureka! Restaurant Group. Operating more than two dozen restaurants from California to Texas, Eurkea! is hosting “Supper” Bowl Sunday this weekend. The group is dedicated to local and national craft brews, craft spirits, and elevated bar food in a more upscale but approachable atmosphere.

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From 1:00 PM on February 2 to close, guests can enjoy a pint of any beer on the permanent tap list and an order of their wings—tossed in chile glaze or firecracker aioli—for just $10. On top of being a great deal designed to leverage crucial dayparts, we love that it’s a creative and cheeky workaround that should keep the group out of hot trademark or copyright water.

From Nick Fosberg

Tip 1

Before you start thinking of what you're going to do for this weekend’s big event, look at what your competition is doing or what they did in the past, and then make your promotion more fun or valuable. When you can out beat the competition and provide a better experience, that'll draw them closer to you.

Tip 2

Over the 10 years I've been hosting these parties at my bars, the number one thing people love to win is a flat-screen TV. You can buy 55-inch TVs these days for $300 to $400. Besides just a TV, give away T-shirts, hats, gift cards, etc. Anything that can bring them back into your doors within the next two weeks or anything that brands your bar or restaurant around town.

Tip 3

When doing giveaways, give people tickets based on how long they are at your venue. Example: First quarter, they get five tickets. Second quarter, three tickets. Third quarter, two tickets, and fourth quarter, they get one. This entices people to come in earlier for the game. 

Tip 4

Give incentive tickets for posting to social media. If they take a picture with their group and tag your bar within the picture, they get three tickets. If they take a picture of their food, drinks, and a group shot and post all three to Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat, they get five tickets. If people want to win a big giveaway, they will “work for you” and promote you for extra chances to win. 

Tip 5

Staff should dress for the theme. It’s common sense but you should always theme out events like this. Have the staff put the grease or under-eye strips under their eyes, wear jerseys, etc. Make it more fun.

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Tip 6

Run ads on Facebook and Instagram targeting males within ten miles of your bar or restaurant who like the league, the teams playing, and bars. That will be the most targeted advertising you can do. Then within your ad, mention all the giveaways and how they get tickets. Within the post, ask, “Which of your friends are you going bring in with you?” This then will get them sharing your ad and tagging more people. If you blatantly put, “Please share this” or “Tag your friends,” Facebook will now show your ad to less people. 

Tip 7

Take the ad you created and post to your Facebook and Instagram pages. Then get every staff member of yours to share it three days before, the day before, and the day of the event.

If you'd like to know more about how to turn your promotions into a huge success and have one of the best advantages you could ever have over your competition, click here.

From Doug Radkey


For many concepts, preparing for this event should be no different than preparing for an upcoming seasonal change, holiday such as Thanksgiving, or other special event.

Tip 2

Ticket sales (seat reservations with a higher price for premium viewing seats), limited-time offers for unique food and drink options (think beyond traditional wings and beer), social media and loyalty program engagement, and other cross-marketing opportunities are plentiful for an epic party.

Tip 3

You also want to keep the energy level high throughout the day. It usually ends up being a long day for many when you include the pre-game shows. It’s critical that your guests continue to order food and drink, but they will only do so if the energy within your venue is maintained at a peak level.

Tip 4

You could have live music or a DJ on hand for pre-game, post-game, and quiet moments in between, and you could provide limited-time specials (for five minutes) that are activated after key moments of the game. These are just a couple of options to enhance the guest experience over other bars in your area.

Tip 5

But don’t forget about off-premise by creating scaled value-add packages that must be ordered (and paid for) in advance to those who are opting to stay at home to enjoy the game.

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Tip 6

With pre-ticket sales and pre-built packages you can control labor and food costs while boosting your available cash-flow and maximizing your revenue opportunity for one day of sales, both inside and outside your four walls.

Ready to take your marketing and promotions to the next level? Andrew Corbett is hosting “Nightlife Marketing Promotions to Fill Your Bar,” Jayne Portnoy is presenting “The New Four P's in Marketing,” and Linden Pride is hosting “Creating World-Class Guest Experience at the World’s Best Bar.” Register now!