US On Premise Venues Score Big with March Madness Fans

CGA by NIQ has released its latest US On Premise Impact Report, interpreting consumer behaviors and preferences during one of the most anticipated sports events in America - March Madness.
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This comprehensive study offers invaluable insights for drinks suppliers and distributors to understand and leverage consumer attitudes and trends, ensuring their On Premise strategies mean it’s game on for their brands.


A hefty portion of consumers (over a quarter) ventured to On Premise venues to enjoy the March Madness festivities, surging to over two in five (40%) among the 21-34 age demographic. This level of engagement demonstrates the event’s considerable draw in attracting US consumers to bars, restaurants, and similar venues.


Social interactions play a key role in these outings, with over half of consumers preferring the company of friends, followed by a third going out with a partner or spouse, and almost a third choosing to experience the excitement solo. These preferences highlight the diverse social dynamics at play in venues during major sporting events.


What about the drinks flying out of the taps and off the shelves? March Madness drink consumption patterns reveal beer as the prevalent choice for half of On Premise visitors, with vodka and whiskey emerging as the preferred spirits among almost a quarter of fans respectively. The scores indicate a broad palette of consumer preferences for suppliers and distributors to tap into.


Then there’s the question of where folks are going to watch the games. Sports bars are clinching the top spot for nearly three in five sports fans, with neighborhood bars pulling in a third of the audience.


Moreover, the Report delves into promotional strategies, revealing around three in five consumers engage with featured drink promotions, and two in five buy discounted offerings during the event. These trends exemplify the effectiveness of targeted promotions in boosting consumer engagement and spend during peak events like March Madness.


Similarly, the March Madness Final Four maintain the consistent visitation patterns experienced throughout the tournament. About one in four consumers planned to go out to venues to celebrate the culmination of the event, with two thirds of this demographic expressing intentions to engage in mobile sports betting during their visits too.


Overall, the insights in the Report represent a thought-provoking blueprint for crafting more effective strategies, by understanding when, why, and how consumers engage with different beverage options and venues during March Madness and other big sporting occasions.


Matthew Crompton, Vice President – Americas, said: “Consumer preferences have become as dynamic as the game itself! This is why the March Madness analysis is a playbook for suppliers and distributors – it drills down into the choices consumers make, and crucially, the underlying reasons behind those choices. Understanding factors such as social dynamics, promotional influences, and venue preferences, industry stakeholders are empowered to design strategies to ensure they’re relevant and top-of-mind in a marketplace as competitive as the sporting events drawing the crowds.”


CGA’s On Premise Impact Reports help suppliers and manufacturers across food and beverage to keep a pulse on the industry by featuring current insights derived from a variety of our best-in-class data tools. Click here to download more information, or contact Matthew Crompton here to learn more about subscription access and wider capabilities.

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