Arizona hosting a Super Bowl? That’s old hat. The sports wagering angle, however, is the new trick.
Arguably the biggest sidebar to Sunday’s showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs has been the fact that people will be able to wager on the game while it happens at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. The NFL’s very public embrace of legal wagering continues to lift revenue bottom lines for sportsbooks and team marketing departments alike, and Sunday will add a new wrinkle as in-stadium mobile bettors will be able to make in-game wagers on the Super Bowl.
An order of Pizza Box Nachos with Prime Rib from the concession stand at halftime while you ponder a parlay? Sure. A Chop Chop Salad to go with JuJu Smith-Schuster scoring the next touchdown? Have at it. The in-game options will not be as fanciful as the pre-game board, but the opportunity is there for Super Bowl attendees for the first time.
“Super Bowl LVII … will make U.S. online sports betting history, as the first time America’s biggest sporting event plays out in a state where iGaming is regulated,” said Paysafe President of Global Gaming Zak Cutler. “Smartphones are now the go-to device for U.S. online sports bettors, with 54% of American players wagering with either an iPhone or Android phone, according to our Q4 2022 research. We can expect to see both Chiefs and Eagles fans in the State Farm Stadium placing bets live on their phones before the game and as it’s played.”
The ability to wager is just one of the many novelties amid the sights and sounds that go into a Super Bowl week. The Phoenix area has its own distinctive spin on things, offering plenty to do on top of making bets.
Sportsbooks — and pundits — nearby
The proximity of FanDuel‘s sportsbook at the Footprint Center to Radio Row at the Super Bowl media center — easily accessible in the downtown Phoenix area by multiple modes of transportation — offers bettors who think they’ve learned something from the hundreds of pundits opining on the game the chance to place bets in person if they prefer that to mobile wagering.
FanDuel isn’t the only sportsbook close by, as Caesars has its book adjacent to Chase Field and close to Guy Fieri’s recently opened DTPHX Kitchen + Bar.
“Beyond the stadium itself, betting volumes will almost certainly surge,” Cutler added. “American online sports bettors tend to wager more than other global players, with the average U.S. player wagering $97 compared to $59.1 in the mature U.K. iGaming market and $47.3 in the Canadian province of Ontario, according to our recent research. But we can expect U.S. players’ bets to increase even more for the Super Bowl, with our recent research indicating that players’ wager sizes rise around major sporting events — and there is no event bigger than the Super Bowl.”
“One of the things I noticed, a story from a local affiliate was talking about making sure you’re betting legally,” said Stacie Stern, vice president of government affairs and partnerships with Underdog Fantasy Sports. “They didn’t say how to do that, that you go to the [Arizona] Department of Gaming website and look for what apps are actually authorized, but they did talk about some of the local places people can go.”
The WM Open gets into the act
As if the Super Bowl was not enough for one city to handle, the PGA Tour is also passing through the Phoenix area this weekend with the Waste Management Open. Arguably the rowdiest event on the circuit for the gentlemanly game, the WM Open fits right into the week’s festivities, highlighted by the theater in the round of the signature 162-yard, par-3 16th hole. It doubles as a golfing Roman Colosseum of sorts; fans judge pros’ tee shots and cheer caddies who sprint from tee to green carrying a full bag of clubs.
The 16th hole at the Phoenix Open is amazing, and Sam Ryder just sent the crowd absolutely insane with a hole in one.
The atmosphere is electric 🤯pic.twitter.com/XGML0GuzD9
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) February 12, 2022
The event offers a tailor-made option for bettors who want to make cross-sport bets and parlays, a now-popular Super Bowl weekend pastime. Some will parlay a winner of the golf event with a Super Bowl winner, while others will root for an NFL player prop to exceed a golf score.
DraftKings entered Arizona through a partnership with the host course — TPC Scottsdale — and its sportsbook next to the course is currently under construction. Not having a retail book up and running yet has hardly been a detriment to wagering; DraftKings has generated a state-leading $2.3 billion handle since launching operations in September 2021 and remains the only sportsbook to surpass $200 million in accepted wagers in any month.
On another DraftKings note, a coincidental touch of synergy has pitchman and comedian Kevin Hart performing stand-up at the Arizona Financial Center for two shows Saturday night. No word on if he’ll be offering Super Bowl picks — though likely backing his hometown Eagles if he does — as part of his routine.
Don’t think Las Vegas isn’t watching
I saw a Billboard yesterday outside Phoenix that said "you call that Super? Hold my Beer". It was signed Las Vegas 2024.
— Skewed and Reviewed (@SKNRGareth) February 9, 2023
Three hundred miles to the north, the city of Las Vegas is watching this week’s festivities with plenty of interest. Sin City has successfully transformed itself to a sports town with the arrival of the Golden Knights and the Raiders. While the NHL franchise created a notable buzz in 2018 by reaching the Stanley Cup in its inaugural season, that will pale in comparison to the atmosphere Super Bowl LVIII will bring to Allegiant Stadium and the Strip at this time in 2024.
A city renowned for staging the biggest boxing matches and some of the most ostentatious entertainment residencies will get the chance to roll all that together for the single biggest sporting event in the United States — both in general and when it comes to sports wagering. Las Vegas is already serving notice that anything Phoenix and Glendale will do will be mere child’s play when it pulls out all the stops for a first-class spectacle.
That scouting also goes beyond the simple bells and whistles of what fans see. Infrastructure also matters, and it is not surprising that Clark County officials from the Department of Aviation are in town to see how an airport handles an exponentially higher amount of traffic in a short window of time and compare notes from 2015 when Glendale previously hosted the Super Bowl. And the Las Vegas host committee had a booth this week just outside Radio Row as a not-so-subtle reminder it is already preparing to get ready.