RTD and hard seltzers consumption gap within sports bars and stadiums offers growth opportunity

CGA’s Channel Strategy Report reveals the extent to which RTDs and hard seltzers compliment the sports spectators needs in stadiums and sports bars.

Ready to drink (RTD) canned alcoholic beverages have been a trending topic of the quarter, hitting the headlines for their growth, transformation and challenges to category shares. With this rising status, from a handy solution for a quick drink, to a go-to choice in bars and restaurants; this isn’t going to be the peak for RTDs.  


With this in mind, CGA’s recent channel strategy reports revealed particular strengths for the category in sports bars and stadiums. The cross over between sports bars and stadiums/arenas is evident, with almost half (48%) of stadium visitors also visiting sports bars pre-COVID-19. This is not surprising when you consider 82% of those who visit stadiums/arenas, do so to watch a sporting event. There is a demographic overlap in these visitors, with a similar alignment in spend in the On Premise. So it is fair to assume that winning the purchase of a consumer in one of these venues, can transcend into the other. Therefore, when considering the popularity of RTDs and hard seltzers with the visitors to both venue types, suppliers should consider an approach that transcends both channels.  


19% of under 55’s drink hard seltzers in sports bars and 18% RTDs, versus just 5% of over 55’s drinking hard seltzers and 3% RTDs. In stadiums, 19% of under 55’s drink RTDs and 17% hard seltzers, but only 4% of over 55’s drink either category. This reveals these categories are heavily skewed by age of consumers. The proposition of these brands should focus on capturing the younger consumers attention, as this is where the opportunity really lies. Branding that takes a lively and trendy viewpoint is essential. Tapping into the ‘purpose’ driven ethos young consumers want to see from new brands will help to increase consideration of your product.  


Despite the popularity of these categories with consumers, in stadiums just 15% of all consumers would order RTDs, yet 23% of them generally drink RTDs in the On Premise. Similarly for hard Seltzers, 13% would order in a stadium, but 24% generally drink the category. There is a gap in consumption, which reveals a strong opportunity to grow into the headroom. As it is, spirits consumption is lower in stadiums than average, but RTDs could provide a pathway to increasing the likelihood of having a spirit-based beverage due to the ease of consumption and low wait-time for preparation, countering potential crowds and the rowdy atmosphere in some stadiums and sports bars during games.  


Consumers highlighted occasions in sports bar and stadiums revolve around having fun, being relaxing and socialization. All 3 link to the typical need states associated with watching sports and fit the nature of this beverage option. It is easy to move around with, harder to spill and saves time waiting at bars.   


“We are seeing these two disruptive categories, RTDs and hard seltzers, really shake things up in the drinks market, starting prior to COVID-19 and continuing throughout the pandemic, showing no signs of slowing as recovery continues,” says Thomas Graham, Senior Client Manager Americas at CGA.  “As we see more and more products launching, understanding how to challenge or win is this space is at the forefront of suppliers thoughts, as well informing themselves on how the categories longevity looks.” 


CGA’s Channel Strategy Research provides a comprehensive view of consumers from 11 channels in a core and deep dive offering. To find out more about CGA’s channel strategy research and how it can assist in positioning your brand or category in different channels, please contact Matthew Crompton at Matthew.Crompton@cgastrategy.com .  



Recent posts:

Share post


Subscribe to our newsletter

Access the latest On Premise news and reports by signing up below.