Jimmy Palermo of Palermo Tavern is thought to be the creator of the first sports bar, which opened in 1933 in St. Louis, Missouri. There, beer flowed as generously as sports talk did. Palermo cited the addition of television to his bar as what turned his pub into a bonafide sports bar … well, that and all the gameday food on the menu, like ballpark hotdogs and pretzels. Eventually, like all great ideas, the idea of the sports bar spread beyond the walls of the Palermo Tavern.
Cable TV programming cranked the sports bar experience up a notch, meaning people flocked to sports bars to watch games they might not otherwise have seen if it weren’t for the bar’s cable subscription
In 1980, the “Big Three” networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) dominated most people’s TV options, while only 23% of people had cable. By 2015, however, 76% of people had cable access and, presumably, plenty of sports progamming along with it. What’s more, that doesn’t even cover streaming services. It all means that most people don’t need to go to a sports bar nowadays to watch the big game. What’s more, gameday food in the sports pub costs more than many want to pay. It all means that modern sports fans are more likely to cook wings at home while they watch the game on a big-screen TV.