It’s that time of the year again. Super Bowl LVII is upon us, and frequent bettors are chomping at the bit to secure their Super Bowl betting squares at their local Super Bowl party. Personally, I’ve secured two squares and eagerly anticipate being winner-take-all—though that’s never happened to me before, but one can dream of winning each quarter and the final score.
America’s most anticipated football game—whether you’re a fan or not—is cemented into American culture for several reasons. One can’t forget about the inundation of Super Bowl ads that will be aired brought to you by corporate giants that pay millions of dollars for a 30-second spot. Like anyone else, I always look forward to viewing these commercials and debating with friends and family on who had the best ad. But the most popular aspect in this slice of new American culture is sports betting. And one thing’s for sure: this new twist on an old bet has taken sports betting by storm.
Two heavyweights will go head-to-head this year—and I’m not just talking about the Kansas City Chiefs playing the Philadelphia Eagles—but FanDuel and DraftKings. Both stand head and shoulders above the competition in terms of total player usage, according to a national survey done by LaneTerralever. Both online sport betting companies have enlisted the help of celebrity spokespersons, Kevin Hart for FanDuel and Rob Gronkowski for DraftKings. Both brands are doing their best to create marketing campaigns that will help them connect with consumers in an impactful way.
In order to gain more insight into how sports betting entities like FanDuel and DraftKings are reinventing the way we view sports betting, I spoke with Andrew Sneyd, Executive Vice President of FanDuel, Jason Robins, CEO and Chairman of DraftKings, Stephanie Sherman, Chief Marketing Office at DraftKings, and Billy Turchin, Senior Vice President of Product for FanDuel.
Jeff Fromm: How is FanDuel approaching the Super Bowl and what impact is there since Arizona has legalized online gaming?
Andrew Sneyd, FanDuel: The Super Bowl is in Arizona this year, which makes it the first Super Bowl to be hosted in a state where sports betting is legal and fans can bet in the stands. As the #1 Sportsbook in America, we felt that this year was the perfect time to make a statement that will resonate with all NFL fans. FanDuel knows moments matter, that’s why our first-ever Super Bowl advertisement, “Kick of Destiny,” creates a first-of-its-kind moment that will bring fans together, reward our customers, and have everyone cheering for the same outcome during our LIVE commercial.
Fromm: How would you describe FanDuel’s advertising and activation strategy around the event? Is Gronk in training?
Sneyd: Overall, the strategy was about not making a Super Bowl ad. Instead, we want FanDuel to be part of the story of the Super Bowl, that story starts during the playoffs and ends with an entertaining moment that is inherently part of the game. The integrated Kick of Destiny campaign features TV and digital spots leading up to the Super Bowl that will take fans through the story of Gronkowski finding out about the kick, training for the kick, and culminating with the live kick during the Super Bowl broadcast. Fans who are in Phoenix will be able to take photos with the “The Foot of Destiny,” a replica of Gronkowski’s foot. Also, fans who are 21 or older can take their own shot at the “Kick of Destiny” on-site at the Super Bowl Experience with the chance to win a voucher for a $25 Bonus Bet at the FanDuel Sportsbook at the Footprint Center or be a part of the bigger prize on Super Bowl Sunday.
Yes, ever since Gronk found out about the kick he has been training really hard. He also got some pointers and advice from one of the best kickers to ever do it, Adam Vinatieri, so I think he will be ready to go when it’s game time and we will all be rooting for him on Super Bowl Sunday.
Fromm: How big of an event is the Super Bowl to DraftKings?
Jason Robins, DraftKings: The Super Bowl represents the culmination of our busiest season on the sports calendar. Historically, the game itself has been the most bet single event of the year on our sportsbook since we first started taking bets on Super Bowl LIII in 2019. This year, DraftKings’ customers will have nearly 1,000 unique markets available to bet on before and during the game, from various same-game parlay options to fun novelty prop bets like the coin toss, the color of Gatorade to be poured on the winning head coach and more.
Fromm: How has DraftKings leveraged insights to impact your customer experience (CX) or alternatively, what’s your CX strategy?
Stephanie Sherman, DraftKings: As a digital sports entertainment and gaming company, we are always looking for ways to drive innovation forward while also winning over customers, especially during one of the most active times of the year for sports betting activity. We have seen success with our innovative stepped up same-game parlay, where fans have the opportunity to get boosted odds on parlays involving three or more combinations with legs of -300 or longer. We are focused on putting our customers first and providing them with a responsible real-money gaming and entertainment experience. We have seen the sports betting landscape grow over the last few years, so it’s important for us to not only listen to our customers’ needs through the insightful data we are able to capture, but also stay nimble as the industry continues to evolve.
Fromm: What can every CMO learn from FanDuel’s marketing and activation strategy?
Sneyd: We need to dream big and scare ourselves. A few years ago, I never thought we would be able to pull something like this off, but I am very proud of what the team created. Making ourselves part of one of the biggest sporting events in the world and doing so in a first-of-its-kind moment that will bring fans together, reward our customers, and give them something to collectively cheer for on Super Bowl Sunday, marks the next step in our growth as an iconic sports brand.
Fromm: What can other CMOs learn from DraftKings recent past efforts?
Sherman: Our number one goal as a company is to make life more exciting for customers by fueling their competitive sports fan spirit by creating more exciting and responsible ways to bet on sports. As the sportsbook landscape heats up closer to the Super Bowl, we seek to remain competitive with consumer-centric offers, while taking a data-driven and analytical approach to strategically scale our marketing initiatives leading up to the Super Bowl. We’re taking a different approach to this year’s 30-second Super Bowl commercial, having created a campaign with actor and comedian Kevin Hart that I believe will be memorable, featuring a lot of humor, star power, and an exciting promotion that we hope will resonate with viewers.
The mobile gaming wars are alive and well. Could Kevin Hart outkick Gronk? I’d like to bet on that!
According to Billy Turchin, FanDuel: “Everything here at FanDuel begins with our customers in mind, in fact it’s one of our company values. Our customer obsessions keep user research, live testing and customer feedback at the heart of our product feature development. We take a lot of pride in perfecting the core things in our app, whether it is giving our customers a crisp user experience, fast speeds or the best account management experience, our goal is to make it simple and enjoyable for our customers.”
If you are planning to attend the Big Game in person don’t expect to find bargains. According to Adam Rossbach, an online ticketing expert at Ticket Solutions, “What’s making this year’s Super Bowl more expensive is two rabid fan bases and the host city. Hotels and travel are up more than past seasons for the big game. You can bet that ticket prices will remain high.” This may be the only bet you can’t make on FanDuel or DraftKings.