UK pub survival depends on £155M Winter World Cup push

UK pubs missed out on a staggering £155m gain in the summer World Cup, a new analysis has revealed.

The hospitality sector was already among the hardest hit by Covid-19, losing a staggering average of £40,000 each due to the pandemic, almost double the average £22,000 losses reported by small businesses. UK companies. Pub and brewery businesses across the UK are now at risk of closing due to out-of-control power bills, with price increases of more than 300% reported.

Figures compiled by Simply Business revealed that had the England men’s team reached the World Cup final this summer, an additional 38 million pints of beer would have been consumed in the UK. With the average price of a pint in the UK at £4.07, this has resulted in pubs losing a whopping £154,660,000 in total.

If England hadn’t reached the final, pubs would still have expected to see an additional 14 million pints poured during the group stage alone (3-5 million pints per England game), meaning pub owners across the UK would still have missed out on a guaranteed summer boost of up to £57m.

Although the winter competition will continue to attract punters, there are concerns that the full effect of the World Cup trade will not be felt, as pubs are already seeing a spike in trade due to the festive period. The schedule change for the tournament has left several business owners concerned that they will have to choose between Christmas parties and World Cup sightings.

Ben Stanford, who runs The George & Dragon in Much Wenlock, comments: “The lack of summer football tournaments has resulted in lost revenue as we would have shown all the home nations games. Not sure what the rest of the year will be like – the imminent spike in energy costs could lead to the pub being shut down altogether. With the current cost of living situation, I’m not sure we’ll earn much more by showing football in December.”

News about the government’s plans to cap fuel costs for businesses was welcomed in the SME community, as small business owners have called for a cap on energy prices for businesses. Bar owners in particular were looking to use the cap as a starting point to avoid being forced to close before they could reap the rewards of the World Cup and increased sales over the festive period.

The Simply Business analysis comes as pubs continue to close at an alarming rate, with the number of pubs now at its lowest level on record, as inflation and rising costs eat away at profits. The changes to VAT and business rates announced in this year’s Spring Declaration will also have hit the pockets of owners of these industries significantly.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, who conducted the analysis, said: “Independent pubs and hospitality businesses play an integral role both in our local communities and in the success of the broader UK economy.

“After being disproportionately hit by the impact of the pandemic, homeowners now have to deal with skyrocketing costs and rising energy prices; for many, this summer has been about survival as they continue to recover from the shock of the pandemic.

“This makes the lack of a summer World Cup an even bigger blow. Now more than ever, small businesses needed a boost. The increase in trade, to the tune of up to £155m for UK pubs, would have come at a critical time for hotel owners, many of whom are working hard to stay afloat as they battle the impact of the increase in cost of living.

“Looking ahead, as the winter World Cup overlaps with the festive season – another crucial time of year for the industry – pub owners will be forced to prioritize. For many, profits will inevitably decline, and publicans will see their two busiest times of the year rolled into one.”


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