FanDuel’s Lakers Promo Costs Company Nearly $5 Million

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Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James

Jul 31, 2020, 12:10 PM EDT

FanDuel’s “Spread The Love” promotion, which resulted in the Lakers being 52-point underdogs on Thursday night, cost the sports betting brand a “bit shy of $5 million,” FanDuel’s chief marketing officer Mike Raffenberger told The Action Network.

The promotion moved the line by one point each for every 2,500 bettors that bet the Lakers, with a $50 max bet per user. It started at the real spread (Lakers -4) on Wednesday and reached +52 by tipoff. FanDuel continued to offer the promotion up until hafltime, when the Lakers were up three.

Unlike many other sportsbook promotions, which only apply to new bettors or require the bettor to make another successful bet to keep the cash, Thursday night’s promotion was essentially free money. Anyone who made the bet had real money in their account, as the Lakers not only didn’t lose by 53 points, they won by two.

As opposed to just giving bettors a free bet worth $45.45 (which is what a bettor cashed if they took on the promotion at the max $50 bet), Raffenberger said “this is a more fun, social and innovative way of delivering customer value.”

It also, Raffenberger said, makes people want to come back moreso than a free bet.

“We want to be seen as bettor friendly and that means on promotions like this, this is no catch,” Raffenberger said. “You don’t have to be a new customer and there is no catch with the money.”

Since FanDuel writes off the promotion as a marketing cost, Raffenberger and his colleagues obviously keep a close eye on returns. It’s the first time the company has offered this type of promotion nationally, after previously offering one to Pennsylvania bettors and two to Indiana bettors, when the company entered those respective states.

Raffenberger said bettors in those states were preconditioned to bet early when they saw this promotion. Not all people maxed out their bets, Raffenberger said, since not everyone understood they weren’t locking up a particular number when they bet it. Whatever the spread ends up at is what all bettors get.

FanDuel also, through an ad partnership with TNT, brought their odds board to the NBA’s pregame show, something that will happen throughout the year. Such overt talking about gambling had never happened in an NBA broadcast before.

“We think it’s a great partnership and we’re happy to have broken ground,” Raffenberger said.

After showing that the Pelicans were a 2.5 point favorite, Charles Barkley said, “Why would the Pelicans be favored over the Jazz? That would be my first question.”

[Where Is Sports Betting Legal? Tracking All 50 States]

Barkley took the Jazz and would have cashed, as they won, 106-104.

Shaq joked he couldn’t understand what the board meant, to which Barkley replied, “If I had this class in school, I would have been a straight-A student.”

Said Kenny Smith: “I would win millions if I was a gambler.”

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