Although kick-off times for the home nations’ games vary, with some taking place in the afternoon, all 4 of England’s Pool A matches start at 8pm and, whilst this is not universally popular with fans travelling to the games, it will benefit pubs who can draw in a rugby crowd.
The fact that the Cup is being hosted here at least means that you don’t need to worry about games being played outside your normal licensed hours, but there are some other aspects of your licence that you should check before planning and publicising your rugby-themed events.
If you are screening matches live, there is no requirement to have permission to show films on your licence. You will need it; however, in the event that England make it to the Final, for example, and you want to show a recording of the game again at some point in the future. Remember that you could do this under a Temporary Event Notice.
You may be thinking of putting up a big screen, or even setting up an occasional bar to serve beer to thirsty supporters. If so, it’s worth checking your licence plan to ensure that you will not be straying into a part of your premises or garden that isn’t currently licensed for the sale of alcohol. Also take a look at the conditions on your licence to make sure that there are none that might prevent you from operating as you intend – only using plastics outside after a certain hour, for example.
You’ll be hoping to be busy during the 6 weeks or so of Pool matches – perhaps busier than usual. Of course, you’ll need to bring in adequate supplies and staff to make sure that everything goes smoothly – but keep an eye on numbers, too, to ensure that you don’t exceed any maximum capacity figure on your licence or fire risk assessment.
Rugby crowds tend not to be associated with disorder, but prepare for customers being boisterous – depending on how the game is going! If you have neighbours who have already shown themselves to be sensitive with regard to noise from your outside area, or patrons blocking the pavement, for example, you will need to consider how you will manage busy times, especially as large numbers of people may be arriving at, and leaving, your premises at the same time, as games kick off and end. You may need to carry out increased monitoring of external areas and bring in extra staff to patrol, collect glasses and clear up.
The Rugby World Cup is a fabulous occasion and, with a bit of forward planning, a great opportunity for you to maximise revenue in your business. Don’t forget the rugby widows, though – you may wish to consider your offer to those who might come along, but are not interested in watching the game. Personally, I can’t wait for the competition to start! May the best (British) team win!