How is the pub atmosphere at Euro 2020?
I’m sitting in the Swansea taproom I own, looking at all the hopeful faces. There is a good chance Wales will advance to the round of 16, and the faces waiting to show it.
For a moment, it feels like a typical pre-Covid pub. Beers are flowing, excited chatter boils, and the game day fever is tangible – it almost feels like normalcy is back.
Looking around, I am calculating for the thousandth time since reopening the ‘new’ inner capacity – 24 people, respecting a social distance of two meters in accordance with Welsh guidelines – and I remember the reality. That is to say the harsh reality that with the restrictions still in place and the significant limit on the number of people I can allow to watch Euro games, the income potential of what should have been a massive opportunity is severely hampered.
I could have filled the bar four times hearing the tills ring four times. Instead, because of social distancing, lack of status, and the rule of six, unfortunately it is.
Sport has always been a major driver of advertising traffic, with major events such as the UEFA European Championship being particularly lucrative. However, the opportunity here was totally missed.
The best way to describe him as a bar operator is all the heartbreaking disappointment and regret that comes with unrealized potential.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) estimated that sales of pub beer in the England v Scotland match were nearly 850,000 pints lower than if the match had been broadcast without restrictions. This, according to the trade association, will have resulted in a loss of revenue for pubs in England and Scotland of Â£ 3.2million on Friday alone, an amount which would have been vital for the industry’s recovery.
The desperately needed hospitality boost, which the euros promised at the time, has been severely curtailed by the ongoing restrictions.
In preparation for the Euro I was frantically trying to think of other ways to increase capacity and use this national sports match for what it should have been worth.
Can we add additional tables while following the guidelines? Not without facing the potential wrath of licensing. Can we install screens outside? Not without a significant additional cost and then of course there is no guarantee with the weather.
The point is, the Covid guidelines have made it nearly impossible to profit as we should have from the euro as a sector, and there is no way around that as long as these restrictions are intact.
” Something is wrong ”
Putting aside for a moment the devastating financial impact, a survey of 1,000 pub visitors by the BBPA found that 85% of football fans in pubs believe the current restrictions will have a negative impact on their experience of playing. watch UEFA Euro 2020 in the pub this summer.
Half said they would be more likely to watch UEFA Euro 2020 in the pub if all ad restrictions were lifted, despite 91% of football fans saying they missed watching games in the pub during the lockdown.
Again, looking around my own reception hall during the Wales v Italy game, I have to admit that the buzz on match day just isn’t the same.
No more crowds of people standing between tables, jostling each other in excitement. The raucous revelry is replaced by a whisper of voices altogether darker – literally – and less vivid.
As for getting into the song which is often in the Welsh way, the chances of that happening are zero; it just seems way too inconvenient among such low numbers. It is as if the electricity was not fully plugged in or the room had not been charged. Something is wrong.
After the year we have all been locked up and the heavy toll it has taken on mental health across the country, it just seems a shame that this opportunity has been missed.
A national sporting event like the Euro could have been the golden opportunity to bring everyone together, to put the isolation behind us and to boost morale once and for all. We have earned it.
But we continue with the throttling restrictions still in place, doing our best.
One thing that doesn’t disappoint us with untapped potential is the performance of Wales and by the time I finish they have just qualified for the last 16. As a Welsh girl this gives me something really big to smile about!