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Inside FanDuel’s Las Vegas Takeover

The sports betting giant seamlessly blends sports and entertainment in Sin City in the run-up to Super Bowl LVIII. Boardroom breaks down how FanDuel is making its mark.

Between the national anthem and kickoff, football fans will lock in on yet another betable moment at this year’s Super Bowl: Rob Gronkowski‘s Kick of Redemption. Following last year‘s ill-fated attempt, the Hall of Fame-bound tight end seeks to crush a 25-yard field goal and unlock a $10 million pot for FanDuel users. This year, the brand brought in some big names to get Gronk ready — even tapping John Cena to play the villain role and outspoken captain of Team Miss.

However, recreating last year’s award-winning Kick of Destiny is only one part of a trio of high-impact experiences at the intersection of sports and entertainment that FanDuel is bringing to Las Vegas. “I think that’s what is uniquely different from others that might advertise during the Super Bowl,” the company’s Executive Vice President of Marketing Andrew Sneyd told Boardroom. “We are a part of the sports viewing experience with our customers, and we like to bring to life our brand accordingly for the biggest sports holiday of the year.”

Leading into the big weekend at Super Bowl LVIII, Boardroom examines how FanDuel plotted its Las Vegas takeover. From Kid Cudi and Calvin Harris on stage at the third annual FanDuel Party to Gronk’s quest for glory, Boardroom explores how FanDuel is making the most of the biggest event on the American sporting calendar.

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For those who have never been, it’s difficult to explain the buzz at Radio Row. The pop-up functions as the central media space for the days leading up to the Super Bowl. If you’re in the room, you’ll notice some of the biggest names in sports casually strolling through, flanked by PR reps, as they cross from interview to interview.

Amidst it all, FanDuel TV set up their temporary set, capturing the likes of the Las Vegas Raiders’ Maxx Crosby, newly-minted Offensive Rookie of the Year CJ Stroud, and many more. For a few days, the channel’s marquee programs, including Up & Adams with Kay Adams and Run it Back, called the risers home. Meanwhile, talent from The Ringer produced its signature programming in partnership with the brand.

However, never one to miss a moment of overlap, the buzziest moment of the week came as Rob Gronkowski took the stage in preparation for his big kick. Hosted by Kay Adams, Gronk discussed everything from his preparation to the psychological warfare that John Cena is trying to leverage to throw off his game.

“I told John Cena, it’s my kick again. He keeps going against me. He thinks I’m gonna miss it, but I’m gonna make it,” Gronk told the assembled crowd of reporters.

As the sets begin to break down on Friday evening, FanDuel will shift its attention to its second high-profile event of the week in Vegas: The FanDuel Party, headlined by Kid Cudi and Calvin Harris, will then take place on Friday, Feb. 9, at the LIV Nightclub for the third consecutive year.

Plus, according to Sneyd, the company’s partnership with Spotify adds an extra layer of star power as they bring in top-tier talent. The event is set to take place inside the Fountainbleu, one of the freshest new hotels on the strip.

Adding to the excitement from the week, the event will feature a live-taping of JJ Jastremski, Raheem Palmer, and Cousin Sal’s The Ringer Gambling Show.

The luxury event solidifies the company’s space at the intersections of sports and entertainment, highlighting the culmination of its thoughtful evolution through the years. As the company planned for the trio of high-impact events, messaging this was especially important for the company. Plus, it creates the opportunity to bring those watching from home into the action.

“Obviously, Vegas is the home of sports betting in America. We have a product that is in everyone’s pocket outside of Nevada,” Sneyd said. “We want to make sure that we’re using the platform of being active within Las Vegas to send great content out to everyone watching on television that had the opportunity to connect to our mobile sports betting product in their pocket as opposed to the geography where we are.”

But everything that FanDuel set forth during Super Bowl week is a thoughtful lead-up to the Kick of Destiny 2. Last year’s first iteration of the campaign set a high standard for what is possible.

The Super Bowl’s legacy as a top moment for ads — and the most expensive — presented an interesting challenge for Sneyd and his team.

“When you’ve got 120 million plus eyeballs, I think it’s really important to stand out and be part of the experience and sort of honor the moment as opposed to advertise at people,” he said. “I think that tends to be the people, the brands, the products that are a part of the day and celebrate the great moment and understand the context in which we’re communicating that really connect with customers differently.” 

For FanDuel, Gronk represented the perfect talent match for the challenge. Notorious for his light-hearted antics and down-for-anything attitude, Gronk made the most of his moment.

“He is always up for figuring out the ways to be able to bring more fun to the world,” Sneyd commented.

They outkicked expectations last year, taking home a coveted Cleo Award — the top creative award in the advertising industry. But, this year, they felt there was more to do.

This year’s kick will take place live and will inform the creative direction for the company’s in-game ad, just 42 minutes later.

Will Gronk pull together a Kick of Redemption, or will he have to console himself with his three Super Bowl rings? Only time will tell, but either way, FanDuel is prepared to maximize the moment in Vegas.

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About The Author
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos
Bernadette Doykos is the Senior Director of Editorial Strategy at Boardroom. Before joining the team, her work appeared in ELLE. She previously served as the head of evaluation for a nonprofit where she became obsessed with systems and strategy and served as the curator of vibes and extinguisher of fires for the design thinking firm Stoked. She is constantly plotting a perfect tunnel ‘fit and a playlist for all occasions.