Drinking holes across the UK are set to enjoy an influx of business, as thirsty revellers cram into pubs and bars to watch this year’s FA Cup final between Manchester United and Chelsea.
The two Premier League rivals will do battle at 5.15pm on Saturday 19 May, with pubs allowed to stay open an hour later as licensing laws are relaxed in celebration of the royal wedding, which takes place earlier that day at noon. The semi-finals sparked a £43.4 million bar rush across the country, with £8 million spent in London alone, and this number could be even higher on the day of the final, as pub owners cash in on the extended opening hours.
London pubs have already been benefiting from FA Cup fever, with several boroughs enjoying a sharp rise in business during late April, as Wembley Stadium played host to the two semi-final matches between Manchester United and Tottenham, and Chelsea and Southampton.
- Pubs were 34% busier than average in The City of London
- 31% busier in Walthamstow
- 21% busier in Hillingdon
- 11% busier in Westminster
Despite Manchester United’s semi-final clash having had little impact on takings further north – Manchester pubs only raked in 4.6% more transactions than the previous weekend – the capital can still expect a significant increase in trade from travelling fans.
Steve Newton, Executive Vice President, UK and Europe at Worldpay, commented: “Football fans who have a penchant for the royal family will have initially been mortified when the wedding was announced as taking place on the same day as the biggest match in the English football calendar.
“But with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tying the knot at noon, and the cup final kicking off in the early evening, it will be landlords and bar owners who are rubbing their hands together at the prospect of such a lucrative day of trade – especially in the capital.
“And with pubs being allowed to stay open to 1am on Friday and Saturday night, other businesses will likely enjoy an increase in custom, as football supporters take advantage of the extra hour of trade to celebrate their team’s victory, drown their sorrows, or raise a glass to the newlyweds.”
Further statistics from FA Cup semi-final weekend (21-22 April):
- Spending on takeaways increased by 12% across London, increasing by as much as 71% in Stratford, 25% in Kensington & Chelsea, and 23% in Lambeth
- Spending on mini-cabs in the capital was also up by 7% compared to the previous weekend