Why Do Wetherspoons Not Show Football? Exploring The Reasons Behind This Decision

If you’re a football fan, there’s nothing quite like watching your favorite team with a cold pint in hand, surrounded by like-minded supporters. But if you’re planning on heading to your local Wetherspoons pub to catch the latest game, you may be in for a disappointment. Why? Well, it turns out that this popular chain of pubs has made a policy decision not to show football games on their screens.

At first glance, this might seem like a strange move. After all, football is one of the most popular sports in the world, and it’s not uncommon for pubs and bars to capitalize on this by showing games. So why would Wetherspoons choose to buck this trend? The reasons are actually more complex than you might think, and they reveal a lot about Wetherspoons’ unique ethos and business model.

As someone who has spent many an afternoon enjoying a spirited game of football in a crowded pub, I was intrigued when I first heard about Wetherspoons’ anti-football stance. So, I decided to do a bit of investigating to see what was behind the decision. Along the way, I discovered some surprising insights into this chain of pubs that has become a beloved institution across the UK. Read on to find out why Wetherspoons doesn’t show football, and what it can teach us about the intersection of sports, business, and culture.

Sports bars and their environments

Sports bars are often seen as a go-to destination for people looking to watch their favorite sports games while enjoying a few drinks with friends. While some sports bars are popular for their lively atmosphere and extensive selection of drinks, others are known for their cozy and laid-back settings where fans can enjoy the game without the distractions of other patrons.

  • The sports bar experience can differ depending on the location and type of establishment. Some sports bars are designed to appeal to young adults, with loud music and plenty of screens showing multiple sports games at the same time. Other sports bars may cater to families, with a more relaxed environment and a focus on food and drinks that appeal to everyone.
  • Regardless of the type of sports bar, many fans choose to visit these establishments because they offer a unique experience that can’t be replicated at home. Watching a game at a sports bar enables fans to be part of a community of like-minded people who share their passion for sports. The excitement of cheering on your favorite team with a crowd of cheering fans can be contagious, and many sports bars foster this type of communal energy.
  • However, not all sports bars are created equal. Some establishments are known for being raucous and boisterous, with fans cheering loudly and engaging in rowdy behavior. This type of environment can be intimidating for some fans, especially those who prefer a more low-key experience. Other sports bars may have too much emphasis on alcohol, leading to excessive drinking and drunken behavior that can spoil the atmosphere for everyone.

In addition, some sports bars intentionally avoid showing certain types of games. For instance, Wetherspoons is known for not showing football games in the majority of their establishments. While this may seem counterintuitive for a sports bar, it’s important to remember that not all sports bars are created equal. Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, some establishments choose to focus on a specific type of fan or sport. By creating a niche environment that caters to a specific group of fans, they can create a loyal customer base that keeps coming back again and again.

Overall, sports bars offer a unique and exciting way to watch sports games and share your passion for your favorite teams. Whether you’re looking for a high-energy environment with plenty of screens and noisemakers, or a cozy atmosphere with comfortable seating and good food, there’s a sports bar out there that’s perfect for you.

Pros and cons of showing live sports in venues.

There are various advantages and disadvantages that come with showing live sports in venues. Understanding these pros and cons can assist in identifying why Wetherspoons does not show football.

  • Pros
  • Attracting customers – Live sports are a powerful customer attractor and can improve revenue. Given the busy operations of Wetherspoons, more customers can lead to higher sales.
  • Enhanced experience – Live sports can enhance the experience of customers, particularly sports enthusiasts. As they watch significant sports games with friends, supporters can enjoy the match in a social setting, which can be increasingly exhilarating.
  • Bolster brand identity – Focusing on live sports in a venue can build or bolster a brand’s identity. For example, an establishment that has an alignment with a particular sport can draw in customers who have a similar preference. In turn, this can enhance loyalty and bolster the brand’s reputation.
  • Cons
  • Potential for disruption – When there is a live sports match on, customers become absorbed in the game. While this attracts customers, it can also disrupt other activities such as group conversations or relaxation. People tend to become increasingly noisy, making it less appealing to customers who do not have a similar inclination for sports or do not have an interest in watching them.
  • Costly operation – Showing live sports in venues requires significant investment in equipment such as television sets, speakers or projectors. This can be a significant cost at start-up or when upgrading equipment. Additionally, there is a cost of obtaining a license to air sports events, which can be a considerable expense.
  • Liability risk – Live sports matches can cause a rapturous feeling among enthusiastic customers. This feeling is particularly strong when the stakes are high, and the match’s conclusion is closely contested. Venues need to ensure that there are adequate security measures in place to prevent physical aggression or violent outbreaks.

The Wetherspoons case

Wetherspoons has taken a decision not to show football. This is perhaps because it has identified the potential setbacks associated with airing live sports events to its customers. For example, the rowdy nature of sports can cause disorderly behavior and potentially lead to accidents.

Reasons why Wetherspoons does not show football
Concerns about the expensive nature of displaying football matches
The company has opted to create an atmosphere favorable to conversation and relaxation, which might be hard to sustain while sporting events are on display
Wetherspoons is keen to prevent liability risk
The company may have found that there is less demand for sports viewing among its customers. This can be due to its brand’s identity and setup.

By considering the pros and cons of live sports events, Wetherspoons is positioning itself as a brand that prioritizes customer experience. For now, it would seem that the company has made a sound decision in restricting sporting events to prevent any potential mishaps and keep customers comfortable and happy.

Customer preferences and feedback on sports viewing experience

While some customers are perfectly happy enjoying a pint and a meal at Wetherspoons without any sports on the TVs, there are certainly others who enjoy catching the latest game while they’re there. So, why do Wetherspoons not show football?

  • The cost of subscriptions and licensing fees for showing live sports can be quite high. For example, in the UK, Sky Sports alone can cost up to £30,000 per year per pub. This is a significant cost for a chain that prides itself on offering affordable prices to its customers.
  • Many Wetherspoons pubs are situated in historic buildings which might not be equipped with the necessary cabling and infrastructure to support a range of sports channels. Retrofitting these pubs could be a costly and complex process.
  • Wetherspoons also focuses on attracting a family-friendly clientele to their establishments. Broadcasting sports matches in the pub could potentially create a rowdy, less welcoming atmosphere.

While some customers might be disappointed by the lack of sports, there are also many positive aspects of Wetherspoons’ policy, as evidenced by customer feedback:

  • Many customers praise Wetherspoons’ no-sports policy, saying that it creates a much more relaxed, laid-back atmosphere where they can catch up with friends or read in peace without the noise and distraction of a sporting event
  • Others point out that there are plenty of other bars and pubs that do show sports, so there’s no shortage of places to catch a match if that’s what you’re after.
  • Finally, some customers appreciate the fact that Wetherspoons doesn’t show sports because it encourages people to actually socialize with one another rather than just sitting in front of a TV screen.

Overall, while it may be frustrating for some sports fans, Wetherspoons has made a clear choice to prioritize affordability, family-friendliness, and a relaxed atmosphere over showing live matches. And, based on customer feedback, it seems that many people appreciate this approach.

Pros of No-Sports Policy Cons of No-Sports Policy
– Creates a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere
– Encourages socializing and conversation
– Avoids high costs of subscriptions and licensing fees
– May disappoint sports fans
– Potentially limits clientele who are specifically looking for a place to catch a game
– May not be feasible to retrofit some pubs with necessary cabling and infrastructure

Legal agreements and broadcasting rights for live sporting events

When it comes to broadcasting live sporting events, legal agreements and broadcasting rights play a significant role in determining which establishments are allowed to show these events and where they can be shown. Wetherspoons, unlike other pubs, do not show live football largely due to the legal and financial implications that arise when broadcasting these matches.

  • TV licenses: In order to show football matches, establishments like Wetherspoons need to have a valid TV license to ensure that they are not breaking any laws while streaming live matches. Failure to do so can result in hefty fines and even closure of the pub.
  • Premier League restrictions: Wetherspoons’ decision not to show live football is also influenced by the restrictions put in place by the Premier League. The League restricts the number of games that can be shown on television in a bid to encourage fans to attend matches and generate greater revenue for the clubs. As a result, establishments like Wetherspoons have limited access to the number of games that they are allowed to broadcast.
  • Broadcasting rights: Broadcasting live sporting events requires establishments to purchase the necessary broadcasting rights from the relevant authorities. These broadcasting rights can be extremely expensive and can also come with strict restrictions on where and how the matches can be shown. This presents yet another financial hurdle for pubs like Wetherspoons, who may not be able to justify the cost of purchasing these rights.

It is clear that legal agreements and broadcasting rights play a crucial role in determining whether or not pubs like Wetherspoons can broadcast live sporting events. While it may seem like a simple decision to show live football, the financial and legal implications make it a difficult and often unviable choice for many establishments.

Pros: Cons:
Increased footfall in the pub during matches Significant costs associated with broadcasting rights
Opportunity to attract new customers Risk of legal action/fines for showing matches without proper licenses/rights
Improved customer experience and satisfaction Limitations on the number of matches that can be shown due to Premier League restrictions

Ultimately, the legal and financial implications of broadcasting live sporting events is a complex issue that establishments like Wetherspoons need to carefully consider before making a decision. While the benefits of showing live football matches may seem obvious, the costs and restrictions associated with broadcasting rights and licensing can make it a challenging and often unviable choice for many establishments.

Impact of Live Sports on Revenue and Business Performance in Bars

Bars and pubs have always been a popular destination for sports fans to socialize and watch live games. With the increasing popularity of live sports, it is not uncommon to see patrons packed into bars with their eyes glued to the screens. Live sports events have become a crucial part of the bar experience, and not offering them can negatively impact a bar’s revenue and business performance. Here are five reasons why offering live sports is essential for bars:

  • Increased Revenue: Bars that show live sports events see a significant increase in revenue during game time. Patrons tend to stay longer and spend more money on food and drinks, raising the bar’s overall revenue.
  • Attracting New Customers: Showing live sports offers an opportunity to attract new customers to the bar. Sports fans are always looking for a place to watch their favorite team, and an establishment that shows live sports can draw in a new clientele.
  • Increased Demand for Food and Drinks: Live sports events generate a higher demand for food and drinks, and bars can capitalize on this by offering special promotions and menu items. A carefully crafted sports menu with themed drinks and snacks can attract even more sports fans to the venue.
  • Boosting Business During Slow Periods: Bars that show live sports can benefit from the predictable nature of the sporting calendar. By scheduling events during slow periods, bars can attract customers during times that would otherwise be quiet.
  • Building a Loyal Customer Base: Offering live sports events can increase customer loyalty. When patrons find a bar that shows their favorite team’s games, they are more likely to return. Over time, this can build a loyal customer base that provides a steady source of revenue for the establishment.

It is clear that live sports events can significantly impact a bar’s revenue and business performance. This is why it is essential for bars to show live sports events to remain competitive and meet the demands of their customers.


Live sports events are a crucial part of the bar experience, and not offering them can negatively impact a bar’s revenue and business performance. By showing live sports events, bars can increase revenue, attract new customers, increase demand for food and drinks, boost business during slow periods, and build a loyal customer base. Bars that fail to offer live sports risk falling behind the competition and missing out on a massive revenue stream.

Benefits of Live Sports Events in Bars Summary
Increased revenue during game time Higher revenue for bars offering live sports events
Attract new customers to the bar Opportunity to draw in a new clientele
Increased demand for food and drinks Capitalizing on higher demand for food and drinks with special promotions and menu items
Boost business during slow periods Benefit from the predictable nature of the sporting calendar
Build a loyal customer base Increase customer loyalty and build a steady source of revenue

In conclusion, offering live sports events in bars is essential for business success and providing a quality bar experience. Bars that show live sports events can benefit from increased revenue, new customers, and even loyal customers. It is clear that live sports events can significantly impact a bar’s revenue and business performance, and bars that do not offer live sports events risk falling behind the competition.

Alternatives to Live Sports for Entertainment in Bars and Venues

While many patrons may head to their local bar or venue to catch the latest sporting event, not all establishments choose to air them. Wetherspoons, for example, does not typically show football matches. However, there are still plenty of options available for entertainment while enjoying a drink with friends. Here are a few alternatives to live sports:

  • Live Music: Many bars and venues offer live music performances to entertain their patrons. From local bands to up-and-coming artists, live music can create a lively atmosphere and provide a fun evening out.
  • Trivia Nights: Test your knowledge and compete against other patrons with trivia nights. Bars and venues often host different themed trivia nights throughout the week, ranging from pop culture to sports trivia.
  • Board Games: Bring back some childhood nostalgia by playing board games with friends. Many bars and venues offer classic board games like Monopoly or Scrabble, while others have more unique options like giant Jenga or Battleships.

Another option is to enjoy some solo entertainment:

Read a Book: Relax and unwind by bringing a book to read while enjoying a drink. Some bars and venues even have bookshelves filled with different genres to choose from.

Listen to a Podcast: Catch up on your favorite podcasts while enjoying a drink. Many bars and venues offer free Wi-Fi, making it easy to stream podcasts on your device.

People Watching: Take in the surroundings and enjoy some people watching. It may not be traditional entertainment, but observing your fellow patrons can be entertaining in its own right.

While live sports may not be available at every establishment, there are plenty of alternative entertainment options available for a fun evening out with friends.

Challenges of managing crowd control during live sports events

Operating a pub as a venue for live sports events poses a significant challenge with crowd control. Managing a large group of sports enthusiasts, each with their unique opinions about their favourite teams, can be a daunting task. Here are some challenges that pubs and bars face during live sports events:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol: Alcohol increases the enthusiasm of sports fans, which can result in unruly behaviour. Pubs and bars must take necessary precautions to ensure every individual’s safety who is present at the event.
  • Crowd control: Crowds can get out of control, often resulting in physical altercations. Pubs and bars can implement strict codes of conduct and security measures to prevent such incidents.
  • Overcrowding: High-profile matches can attract massive crowds, which can lead to overcrowding in pubs and bars. It is upon the authorities to ensure that crowd density remains controlled, and everyone’s safety is not compromised.

Other than these, notable challenges include catering to the varied dietary needs of the crowd, maintaining hygiene standards, and ensuring that all patrons can view the match without any difficulties.

Types of crowd control measures

  • Effective communication: Clear instructions and informative signage can help manage crowds, eliminate confusion and make the event much safer.
  • Security personnel: Trained security staff are an essential part of a crowd control plan. They can handle and identify unruly elements in the crowd and continue to manage the situation accordingly.
  • Monitoring crowd density: Overcrowding can lead to significant safety issues. Regular monitoring of crowd density and restrictions on entry when required can prevent overcrowding.


Crowd control during live sports events is a demanding task that requires careful planning and effective implementation of measures. By efficiently managing the crowd, providing proper seating arrangements, anchoring effective security measures and ensuring that there are no compromises on safety, pub owners and authorities can make the event enjoyable for everyone while eliminating the risks that come with a large gathering.

Example table for managing crowd density

Time Number of patrons at entry Number of patrons inside Crowd density Action required
19:00 60 70 Safe No action required
19:30 100 150 High-density Restrict entry until crowd density is safe.
20:00 90 160 Very high-density Close entry until further notice.

FAQs: Why do Wetherspoons not show football?

1. Do Wetherspoons not have a TV?

Wetherspoons do have TVs in their pubs, but they typically play news or music videos instead of sports games.

2. Is it a licensing issue?

No, it’s not a licensing issue. Wetherspoons have all the necessary licenses to show live sports, but they choose not to.

3. Do they not want to attract sports fans?

This is not necessarily the case. While Wetherspoons may not show live sports, they still have a strong following of regulars who enjoy their atmosphere and drinks prices.

4. Are there too many distractions in Wetherspoons pubs?

It’s possible that Wetherspoons feel that the atmosphere in their pubs is already busy enough without the added distraction of live sports on TV.

5. Do they have a policy against showing sports?

Not officially, but it’s often been said that Wetherspoons founder, Tim Martin, is not a fan of live sports.

6. Do they not want to pay for expensive broadcast rights?

While it’s true that broadcast rights for live sports can be expensive, it’s unlikely that this is the sole reason Wetherspoons choose not to show sports.

Closing Thoughts

We hope this article has helped answer some of the questions about why Wetherspoons chooses not to show live sports. While it may seem unusual for a pub not to show such events, Wetherspoons still offers a great atmosphere and affordable drinks to their patrons. Thanks for reading, and remember to visit us again for more interesting articles!