Fox Sports Super 6, a new free-to-play sports prediction game, launched this month and appears to be a success out of the gates.
The app is part of the partnership between Fox Sports and The Stars Group (TSG), offering sports fans a chance to win up to $250,000 in a trio of weekly contests. It earned 280,000 downloads in the first week and is already the third-ranked Trivia app in the iOS App Store.
The release came just days after Fox Bet went live in Pennsylvania, the second state in which the Fox-TSG sports betting platform is now available.
Despite awarding cash prizes, Super 6 is not considered a gambling product because it doesn’t require any money from participants. It is therefore available to play throughout the US, minus Washington state.
TSG teased that something of this sort was coming back in May, just days after announcing its partnership with Fox Sports. It didn’t provide any details at the time, only stating that free-to-play products would be a key acquisition channel for the new sports betting platform.
The company has unsurprisingly taken inspiration from a similar product – also called Super 6 – that Sky Betting and Gaming has run in the UK for years. TSG acquired Sky in a multi-billion-dollar deal last year.
Sky’s version of Super 6 revolves around English Premiere League soccer and asks players to predict the exact scores of six matches each week. The jackpot triggers if one or more players get all six correct. Otherwise, the players who came the closest split a smaller consolation prize.
Fox Sports Super 6 is very similar, but with three contests per week.
The Saturday and Sunday contests use college football and NFL games respectively. Given the much greater range of likely results in football however, asking for an exact score would be too much. Players need only specify the winning team and margin of victory.
There is also a Thursday NFL contest that requires more-granular predictions, like number of yards for a specific player or total points scored in the game.
It’s no small feat to predict the margin of victory in one football game — let alone go six-for-six. Odds of any given set of six predictions hitting in a given week will be a-million-to-one at best, and often considerably worse depending on the match-ups.
Even with those odds, though, the jackpot will likely hit reasonably often. That’s the way it goes in the UK, at least, with players sometimes turning in at least one perfect card twice in consecutive weeks.
True, it’s easier to predict the score of a soccer match than an NFL game. On the other hand, the population of the US is five times that of the UK. In the end, the jackpot frequency for both is likely to be similar.
The Stars Group says that it saw 425,000 entries in the first week, so it seems likely the jackpot will hit every few months at worst.
There’s another important difference between the two from TSG’s perspective. Virtually all Super 6 player in the UK are potential customers of the Sky Betting platform, which is not currently the case in the US.
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the only states where Fox Bet is currently active, have a combined population of around 22 million residents. That’s less than 7% of the US total. Add in the other states where online gambling is legal but TSG doesn’t yet have a license, and it’s still only a little over 15%.
Furthermore while anyone 18 years and older can participate in Super 6 contests, the age for real-money gambling is 21 in most of the US.
Of the 280,000 people who downloaded Super 6 in the first week, then, it’s likely that fewer than 20,000 are legally able to register, deposit, and wager on Fox Bet right now.
The jackpot did not hit in the first week, but Fox Sports still paid out $65,000 in prizes. Add in the cost of developing, maintaining, and marketing the app, and it looks like an expensive proposition in terms of cost per acquisition.
Though CPA is often discussed as a concept, companies rarely disclose specifics. It’s not cheap in gambling, though. In the NJ online gambling market, for instance, data indicates a CPA in excess of $500 for some operators.
At that cost, Super 6 needs to convert several hundred players into Fox Bet depositors every week to be cost-effective.
That’s unlikely to be the case, but Super 6 seems like more of a long-term strategy for the US market. If it wasn’t, Fox Sports and TSG likely wouldn’t offer it nationwide.
It’s a gamble, predicated on the assumption that many more states will legalize online sports betting in years to come.
While it’s probably true that less than 10% of Super 6 users are legally able to become Fox Bet customers right now, that number will likely increase many times over in the next few years. Establishing brand recognition and acquiring a database of future customers figures to pay off down the road.
That sort of proactive marketing is more or less a necessity given the competition that Fox Bet will face in new markets as they open.
Not all states that legalize sports betting have land-based casinos for online operators to partner with, and even for those that do, it’s not clear how much overlap exists between the online and live customer bases. Many online operators will therefore be facing a cold start in new markets and find themselves at a disadvantage against DraftKings and FanDuel, who’ve been serving customers across the US for years in the daily fantasy sports space.
A free-to-play app that resembles sports betting and offers real money prizes may be an effective tool to compete against that sort of pre-established presence.