The humble beer mat is due to go high tech as part of BT Sport’s offer to pubs and clubs.
Customers will be able to use their smartphones to scan BT Sport beer mats, bar towels and posters to activate video content, including sporting highlight clips, using Blippar technology, from the start of the season.
They will also be able to vote on the big sporting issues of the moment, research game stats, enter competitions and share content via social media.
BT Sport has started to send welcome packs to the thousands of commercial premises that have already signed up for the channels. However, full launch packs will be sent from late July, which include traditional wipeable fixture posters, window stickers and 10 foot banners, as well as the cutting edge, interactive beer mats, fixture posters and bar towels.
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.
Bruce Cuthbert, director of commercial customers at BT Sport, said: “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.
“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.”
BT Sport will also be supporting publicans and the owners and managers of commercial premises via the web site www.BTSportbusiness.com which will contain helpful content to drive more customers into the business, including downloadable fixture posters and digital images and videos to help with social media outreach.
BT Sport will be available to businesses in standard and high definition from August 1. It will be delivered via satellite technology, so that any business with Sky equipment just has to call BT to add BT Sport to their line-up. BT will also facilitate a third party standard installation for customers who don’t already have Sky equipment on their premises, at no extra charge. There is no need to take BT broadband or BT Vision, since the channels are delivered via satellite.
BT’s market research suggest that there are around 75,000 pubs and clubs in the UK and that just under 50 per cent of these are showing free-to-air sport only - almost 1.5 times the number that subscribe to Sky. The company is confident that this gives BT a huge opportunity based on selling to both Sky customers and non-Sky customers who are interested in sport.
BT Sport will show 38 live and exclusive football matches from the Barclays Premier League – including 18 “top pick” matches - and all 69 live rugby matches from the Aviva Premiership where BT will be the sole and exclusive broadcaster.
BT Sport will offer hundreds of top flight live matches from football leagues around the world including Italy, Germany, France, Brazil and the US. Live football from Scottish Professional Football League top flight plus 10 Rangers matches, FA Cup ties and the final, as well as live coverage from the UEFA Europa League and the Football Conference.
The channels will also feature WTA women’s tennis, action from the UFC, Moto GP from 2014, Women’s Super League football, England Under-21 games, Australian ‘A’ league soccer and action from Red Bull Extreme Sports.