Track your events

CONSUMERS don’t need an excuse for a night in (or indeed a big afternoon in) but give sports fans an event to watch and there’s a good chance sales of beer, snacks and treats will move upwards.

The Euros in France could have turned out better for c-stores north of the border. The tournament featured every British Isles team except, unfortunately, Scotland. And while the Olympics turned out to be a remarkable British triumph, which included several fine Scottish achievements, much of the most action happened in the wee small hours of the morning.

Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, above, was a winner in the 2016 Champions League final. If he and his colleagues make it through to next year’s final it will be played in his Welsh homeland at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, left. But many of the most expensively constructed football squads in history will be trying to stop them. Champions League group matches will run on many Tuesdays and Wednesdays from this month until December.

But now the regular sports seasons are about to begin.

Scotland begins its attempt to make the  next World Cup in Malta on Sunday 4 September at 7.45pm. We host Lithuania on Saturday 8 October at 8.45 pm, play in Slovakia on Tuesday 11 October at 8.45pm. And then it’s the big one England v Scotland on Friday 11 November at 8.45pm.

Scottish Premiership football sees the return of Celtic-Rangers matches. There will be three of the big Glasgow derby matches in the league before the Premiership splits towards the end of the season and most likely one more after that split.

Glitz, glam and oodles of spray tan. Strictly Come Dancing will pasa doble its way in front of giant audiences in the nation’s living rooms from the launch show at the start of this month until just before Christmas.

Celtic will host Rangers on Saturday 10 September at 12:00. Rangers are due to host Celtic at 3pm on Hogmanay, Saturday 31 December and then it’s Celtic at home
to Rangers scheduled for
3pm on Saturday 11 March. But those matches are likely to have their times and perhaps their dates moved to suit TV.

This month also sees Dundee v Aberdeen on Sky Sports at 12:00 on Sunday 18 September and on the same day Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Celtic is shown on BT Sport at 3pm. Aberdeen v Rangers is on Sky Sports at 1pm on Sunday 25 September.

The Champions League is another provider of football-related Big Night In opportunities in the autumn months.

The tournament will feature Celtic this year as well as many of the modern-day giants of European football.

The group stage matches take place on several Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the middle of September and early December. So mark the following evenings in your diary – 13, 14, 27 and 28 September; 18 and 19 October; 1, 2, 22 and 23 November; and 6 and 7 December.

After the turn of the year we’ll have the rugby 6 Nations, and the Superbowl.

But it’s not all sport of course. Some of the biggest TV audiences currently are drawn by other competitions.

The Great British Bake Off is now up and running. It can also help sell some home-baking ingredients. It’s scheduled to run on Wednesdays until early November.

The X Factor has also begun for 2016 and will provide ITV’s contestant in the battle for weekend viewers and bring significant Big Night In sales opportunities.

And the glitter-drenched institution that is Strictly Come Dancing begins for 2016 early this month, with its launch show, and returns at the end of the month when the competition proper begins. Again it should help sell Saturday drinks, snacks and treats.