Six Nations kick-off lifts sales above pre-lockdown levels

CGA’s latest trading data shows how rugby’s Six Nations is providing pubs and bars with a timely boost to drinks sales.

The first games in the tournament last Saturday (5 February) helped to lift average drinks sales in managed venues 4% above the equivalent day in 2020. Spirits saw the biggest uplift, with recent popularity boosting sales 16%, while the Long Alcoholic Drinks (LAD) category rose 2%.


Trading benefited from having England, Scotland and Wales all in action on the Saturday and CGA’s research in Ireland has indicated that big sporting events like the Six Nations have a similarly positive effect there. This was compared to the same day in 2020, where England played the following day.


CGA’s data shows how sports venues gain the biggest benefits from the tournament. Their average sales were up by 5% on Saturday, compared to a 2% upswing for non-sports venues. LAD performance was driven by draught stout, thanks to its close association with the Six Nations. Draught world lager and draught keg ale were in solid growth too.


On the flip side, the standard lager category saw a 20% drop in sales across all venues, in line with wider trends. Wine (down 9%) and soft drinks (down 4%) lost share due to the focus on beer and spirits. It is a reminder of the importance for suppliers and operators of catering for the specific tastes of rugby fans on tournament matchdays.


Paul Bolton, Client Director

CGA’s client director Paul Bolton says: “After a tough few months, the Six Nations tournament has come at just the right time for drink-led pubs and other sports venues. As COVID-19 fears subside and we go deeper into the tournament we can look forward to more boosts over the next few weeks. It’s important to remember that not all venues get an uplift from big sporting occasions—but for many LAD brands in particular it’s a great opportunity to grow market share.”


CGA’s in-depth sales data can help suppliers track the very latest trends in consumers’ preferences and the impact of all sporting occasions on sales. Bespoke analysis is available to help pinpoint sales opportunities and position brands. To learn more, email

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