BT Sport taps ‘digital beer mats’ to pull viewers

BT is delivering beer mats, bar towels and posters to pubs and clubs that have signed up to take its sports channels, printed with QR codes that customers will be able to scan to activate video content, including sporting highlight clips on their smartphones.

The QR codes will also allow users to vote on sporting debates, research statistics, enter competitions and share content via social media.

The mats are includes in the full launch packs that BT Sport will send to subscribing pubs and clubs from late July.
All the material features the BT Sport strapline “Great Sport Happens Here”. Barclays Premier League stars Robin van Persie and Joe Hart star in the posters, along with Aviva Premiership Rugby heroes like Owen Farrell and Manu Tuilagi.

BT Sport will be available to commercial premises from August 1, delivered via satellite to tap the market of pubs and clubs that already sign up to Sky services.

BT estimates that just under 50% of the UK’s 75,000 pubs and clubs take only free-to-air services, about one and a half times the number that take Sky’s service.

“We want to bring a few innovations to our offer to pubs and clubs. We think it is going to be great that your beer mat can be scanned to deliver some fantastic sporting action clips to your smartphone, instead of merely soaking up spillages. What better way to while away a few moments while you wait for your friends, than by enjoying a few action clips or sharing your views about a controversial incident in a game,” said Bruce Cuthbert, director of commercial customers at BT Sport. “We hope that this is going to add a bit of extra spice and interest to pub banter around the fantastic line up of sports, including exclusively live Premier League football, FA Cup, Europa League, as well as Aviva Premiership rugby. The beer mat has come a long way since the days when the most interesting thing you could do with it was see how many times you could flip it up in the air and catch it.”