The London Tavern Hotel is located only a few drop kicks from the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Richmond, so it goes without saying that it has a strong connection with sport.
Patrons come to the pub to watch live sport, and to do so as part of a community with mates and other supporters.
“The London Tavern is a pub that is for the people, and we pride ourselves on our connection to the community, says the venue’s general manager, Gina Cimarosti. “Sitting in our beer garden feels like you’re in a mate’s backyard, and that’s what locals love about the Tav.
“We’ve had times where after a Richmond game, the pub just erupts with people singing the Richmond theme song. Or other times, like when Ash Barty won Wimbledon, and most people hadn’t come to watch the game specifically. But the whole pub was so excited and celebrating every point together.”
A new crowd
Sport is engrained in all aspects of the pub, and a key goal has been to broaden its patronage beyond just football.
“We’ve been working on not relying solely on football. It’s no longer just the footy crowd that comes here. We’ve got the NRL crowd and the soccer crowd,” Cimarosti says.
“Our pub has traditionally been seen as an AFL pub, and we’ve always had a good crowd that comes in for the footy. We saw an opportunity with MatchPint to show that we’re not just a footy pub. So now because we list everything we’re going to be showing on the big screen, we’re seen as an avenue for all different sports.”
MatchPint is a website and app that allows venues to list specific fixtures so that fans can find which venue closest to them is showing the big game.
All major sporting codes and channels are represented, including Main Event, Fox Cricket, Fox League, Fox Footy, ESPN, beIN SPORTS.
Covid, and its impact on capacity, was a big part of the picture to expand its appeal, according to Cimarosti. “We were filling up really quickly on Fridays and Saturdays, so it was really important to make the most of the typically quieter days.
“So our thought around using MatchPint was to drive the Wednesday night rugby, the Monday afternoon basketball and things like that. For us, it’s trying to capitalise on all those other days that have sport, not just a Friday night, a Saturday and Sunday afternoon.”
Cimarosti says she found MatchPint easy to use. So easy that she even managed to integrate the sports schedule provided by MatchPInt to her venue’s website. “ I’ve got no idea how I did it because I know nothing about coding or computers,” she says.
“I just copied and pasted the code into our website, and it came up. Now every time I go in and list my sports it magically updates. We also use it to make social posts like Instagram stories, and I also use MatchPint to print out our sports schedule.
“Because we have so many staff here, and a lot that don’t follow what’s going on in the sport world, it makes it easier for them. I print out the pdf and put it up at the start of the week, so that staff know what sport should be showing at any given time.”
MatchPint is also a great time-saver, according to Cimarosti. “It means I don’t have to spend time writing out the weekly sports calendar, I can just print off the pdf. Also, if we want to put up a quick Insta story, we don’t have to go on Canva and spend time creating assets, we can just log on and show what’s going to be on the big screen.
And most importantly, MatchPint has fulfilled its promise of getting new sports fans through the door and helped the London Tavern Hotel smooth out its trade to avoid capacity issues.
“We’ve had people come in to watch the NBA and the NRL saying that they’d seen us on MatchPint,” Cimarosti says.
“It gives us an opportunity to hit a market that we didn’t really have a hold on. Everyone knows us as an AFL pub, but since having MatchPint, we’ve been seeing other people coming through to watch other sports.”
Foxtel venues customers can take advantage of a two-year subscription to MatchPint at no extra charge. Visit foxtelmatchpint.com.au to sign up for a MatchPint profile.