“Making [fantasy football] more fun, or making it more accessible, or adding a reward” can both cement recurring fantasy players and attract new ones, says Jim Andrews, a senior consultant with Onside Marketing. “It’s positioning the brand as a friend. This brand is something that understands me.”
Some U.S. restaurant brands are still moving to utilize fantasy sports this year with in-house promotions, despite most dining rooms remaining either closed or at reduced capacity to accommodate proper social distancing.
Hooters has positioned itself as “Smack Talk Central” for this year’s fantasy football drafts, offering a suite of content from Zoom backgrounds and chicken wing discounts for fans. And, if your local Hooters is open, fans may be able to host fantasy draft parties at their nearest restaurant (though its website notes that parties of six or more may be prohibited).
In addition to the usual suspects, the Florida-based restaurant chain has also produced a range of gimmicks for fantasy players. "Use Hooters Prank News Generator to make a prospect look a little worse so you can pick him up on the sly," the brand says, letting users choose how severe they want their fake headline to be on a one-to-five scale. "Let’s keep this our little secret!"
Buffalo Wild Wings, long known for its fantasy sports promotions, has also centered on low-key draft party food deals both in-restaurant and at home, not opting for any wider-reaching branded campaigns. For the sports bar chain, $3 MillerCoors tall cans and 100-wing bundles are the way to go in 2020.
Ploys to attract the nearly 46 million Americans who play at least one fantasy sport are becoming more common every year, especially given their coveted age demographic and higher-than-average annual income.
Total ad spend for fantasy sports leagues was up nearly 50 percent between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, rising from $5.5 billion to $7.7 billion year-over-year, according to data analyst Kantar, which looked at a dozen major fantasy games including those produced by ESPN, NFL, Yahoo and Ottoneu.