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Capitalising on the Super Bowl to boost year-round revenue

| By Laura Gumbrell | Reading Time: 5 minutes
As the Super Bowl frenzy takes over every February, savvy operators seize the moment to boost engagement, drive revenue, and capitalise on the unparalleled surge in consumer attention. But with a betting spike so significant, how can smaller operators compete for a slice of the action? Patrick Corkery, US/Canada team leader at Leadstar Media, believes that with the right strategy, the Super Bowl can completely change even the smallest of operators' year-round revenue funnel.
Ohio revenue

Since the Supreme Court struck down the ban on sports betting in 2018, the number of legal sports betting sites has grown exponentially, adding fuel to the growing fire of Super Bowl betting.

A record-breaking 123.4 million people across the world tuned in to watch the game, compared to 115 million in 2023. For comparison, this year’s figures made it the most-watched broadcast since the moon landing in 1969. With this huge viewership, combined with the competitive nature of the sport, inevitably the gambling industry was faced with a huge opportunity.

Before the big game the American Gaming Association claimed a record 67.8 million Americans – or 26% of the adult population – were expected to bet on the Super Bowl. This is a 35% increase year-on-year. It was also suggested that bettors planned to wager an estimated $23.1 billion which is up from $16bn in 2023.

The numbers released after the game certainly reflected this and the further expansion of the legal sports betting market in the US. So much so that sports betting geolocation firm GeoComply reported a 22.3% increase in traffic throughout Super Bowl weekend. 

Considering it’s a one-off event raking in nearly a quarter of the year’s betting activity, it’s clear the spike is huge, so how can operators best utilise it?

Impact of the Super Bowl

There are very few sports that have an impact on revenue like the Super Bowl, but Corkery believes that this year was no exception to the norm, “It seems like year over year, it gets bigger and this was no exception. Every year there are more states with legal betting options, and more potential bettors coming of age, so the market is bigger than ever.”

“Our highest-trafficked day on Sportsbooks Online last year was Super Bowl Sunday and we surpassed that mark again this year. Who knows, maybe it was the Taylor Swift bump as well.”

How big brands easily capitalise 

It’s no surprise that the biggest operators are top of the leaderboard when it comes to capitalising on the game. With huge marketing budgets, they have the ability to offer tailored promotions, innovative prop bets, and live betting features pre, post and during the game. 

Engaging users with interactive content and leveraging social media for contests and giveaways creates a buzz around Super Bowl betting. Adding this to collaborations with other brands and influencers widens the reach ten-fold. This year we even saw some more creative bets on offer including the colour of Gatorade and appearance of Taylor Swift throughout the match.

Corkery says, “For the newer players  — which there are a lot of for the Super Bowl —the operators that had the most recognition were successful. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and brands like that.”

A global opportunity for operators

It’s clear that this sporting event is not like any other in the US sports betting calendar – nor is it across the world. 

“US sports betting was the main avenue by which we saw increases. On that end, we had 3-4x the traffic of a normal Sunday,” Corkery says. “As for which states people came from to our site, New York, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were the top ones. We also saw boosts in other geos and increased US casino traffic as well.”

But it’s not just the US that love the Super Bowl, data from Entain’s Coral, Ladbrokes and Bwin brands found that UK and European bets spiked 12% compared to last year’s Super Bowl. According to data from Entain and BetMGM, Super Bowl bets rose 30% since 2023 on a global scale, and 74% increase from 2020. 

“While it’s a US event, there are NFL fans everywhere and the league’s efforts to push the game global seem to be paying off, at least with the betting public.”

A challenge for smaller operators

Of course, big brands can easily capitalise on this spike, they have the power to increase  marketing output, but also invest in technical infrastructure to handle the surge in traffic. They even have the risk management teams to help in the case of unexpected results or controversial decisions that can lead to financial losses.

But there are reasons for smaller operators to be optimistic, says Corkery. If the smaller operators are clever with the way they promote – aiming at the more experienced players knowing their target market – they can still capitalise off the surge.

“We saw that more experienced players went for operators that had special bonus offerings. A lot of brands were increasing their promo spend this year, so we also saw an increase for them as well,” he continues. 

“The pattern seems to be that first-time bettors like to go with what they recognise and trust – so the big names – while more experienced players are willing to explore new brands to get a new or better bonus.”

Smaller operators need to cash in: Affiliate foot forward

Smaller operators can strategically capitalise on the Super Bowl spike by adopting several key measures. Firstly, Corkery believes that working with affiliates helps to put your brand in the best position possible – and in front of the most eyes. Establishing partnerships with affiliates who specialise in sports and entertainment content ensures a broader reach and attracts potential bettors. 

He says, “I may be biased, but working with affiliates is definitely a major help. There are a lot of new players searching for a sportsbook for events like this so putting your brand in a top position can have a major impact on traffic.” 

Retaining players post-Super Bowl is also important, and requires offering unique features that set the platform apart. Leadstar often see in data that through introducing loyalty programs, personalised bonuses, or exclusive promotions, smaller operators are able to foster a sense of value and loyalty among users, encouraging them to stay beyond the event. 

“Once they’re on the platform, I think this is a great chance to retain players, which is where the features of the product and bonuses offered come into play,” Corkery continues. “You will have a lot of one-and-done players for events for the Super Bowl, so it’s important for operators to do what they can to convert those players into long-term users.”

Lastly, to encourage continued wagering after the spike, Corkery believes that smaller operators should focus on building a compelling user experience. This involves introducing competitive odds, diverse betting options, and a seamless platform interface. Engaging content, timely promotions, and excellent customer service contribute to retaining users and enticing them to choose the platform for ongoing sports betting activities. 

“In addition to the one time bettors, they also lose the regular NFL bettors as the Super Bowl marks the end of the season. Potentially the sportsbooks sit on a big customer base with little activity until next season. If they can find a way to activate these customers to bet from February to September as well it can have a significant impact.”

Altering the year-round trajectory

It’s clear that the opportunity is massive for everyone in the gambling space, but smart operators know this is not just a winter spike. When promoted correctly, it can be a game changer in attracting a whole new demographic of players to wager on your platform.

Corkery says, “We find that the US is a fairly seasonal market, so events like this and March Madness are huge chances for sportsbooks to make an impact and increase their player base.” 

“As mentioned previously the challenge is to engage the new player base to bet the rest of the year as well. You will never manage to get all of them but if they can cross-sell other sports and casino products to a small percentage of new players that can really make a difference given the large volume.”

With this in mind, those looking to win big with the Super Bowl should focus on enticing in players with attractive welcome offers, while being set with a post-match strategy ready to retain these new players – and Leadstar is proving to be the helping hand those smaller operators need to win big.

“These big events, the Super Bowl being the biggest one, are a great driver for new player acquisition and the bookies recognise that as evidenced by all the special promotions.”

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