World Cup – Support Your Local Or Lose It

UK pubs missed out on a £155 million summer World Cup boost and now have the choice to offer Christmas parties or winter football in a bid to survive…if you don’t support your local, don’t expect it to be there for the next international tournament.

New analysis from small business insurance provider Simply Business has revealed the hospitality sector was already among the hardest hit by Covid-19, with establishments losing an average of £40,000 each due to the pandemic – almost double the £22,000 average losses reported by UK small businesses. Pub and brewing businesses across the UK are now at risk of closure due to out of control energy bills.

Figures compiled by Simply Business found that, had the men’s England team reached the final of the World Cup 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 missing out on £154,660,000 in total. The study, shamefully did not take into consideration what might happen if Wales were to go all the way – or even if Wales were to progress in the knockout stages.



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



There has been much said of the controversial decision to hold the tournament in Qatar because of its human rights abuses – and because it is the first winter world cup (for those in the Northern Hemisphere). Though the winter competition will still attract punters, there is concern that the full effect of World Cup trade will not be felt, with pubs already naturally seeing an upturn in trade due to the festive period. The change in timing for the tournament has left a number of business owners concerned that they will have to choose between Christmas parties and World Cup viewings.


 “The lack of summer tournament football has resulted in lost revenue, as we would have been showing all of the home nations games. I’m not sure how the rest of the year is going to pan out – energy costs could result in the pub closing all together.”

– Ben Stanford 

Owner, The George & Dragon in Much Wenlock


Bad kick offs

“With the current cost of living situation, I’m not sure we’ll make much extra by showing the football in December,” adds Stanford – without taking into consideration that many of the group games will be not be shown at traditional drinking times – England’s first match kicks off at 10:00am.


Closing time

The analysis from Simply Business comes as pubs continue to close at an alarming rate, with pub numbers now at their lowest on record as inflation and rising costs eat into profit. Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: “Pubs and independent hospitality businesses play an integral role in both our local communities and the success of the wider UK economy.  Having been hit disproportionately by the impact of the pandemic, owners are now having to contend with soaring costs and rising energy prices – for many, this summer has been about survival as their recovery from the impact of the pandemic continues.

“This makes the lack of a summer World Cup an even bigger blow and confidence is low that a winter tournament with awkward kick off times will make up the losses. For many, profits will inevitably be down, with publicans seeing their two busiest times of the year rolled into one.”

Picture: Survival of UK pubs hinges on £155 million winter World Cup boost - but will they even make it to Christmas?

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
18th November 2022


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