Wow, what an anticlimax.
No, not the football game. Sure, that was anticlimactic too, with a highly officious holding call denying a possible chance to see a dramatic final Super Bowl drive by a team down by 3 points in the final two minutes.
We’re talking about the “Kick of Destiny,” from FanDuel Sportsbook’s month-long promotional campaign that promised to spread $10 million to Super Bowl-betting customers if retired tight end Rob Gronkowski could make a 25-yard field goal during a live commercial. It landed with a thud.
The ad aired during the third quarter of Sunday’s Chiefs-Eagles championship game. Decked out in FanDuel gear while former teammate Adam Vinatieri and other assorted people in FD swag looked on, Gronk put boot to ball and hooked it wide left.
And it didn’t matter. The announcer, reading one of the two scripts he presumably had in front of him, said, “But you still win. FanDuel is still giving customers a piece of $10 million in bonus bets.”
Rob Gronkowski’s field goal in a live Super Bowl ad is … NO GOOD! pic.twitter.com/B26d1yhqSr
— Mark J. Burns (@markjburns88) February 13, 2023
Collect your winnings
Customers in any of the 18 states where FanDuel’s mobile sportsbook is operational needed to bet $5 or more on any pre-game Super Bowl market to qualify for a piece of the prize money.
Around 9:30 a.m. ET Monday, those who had done so found a $5 “free bet” waiting in their accounts. It seems unlikely that exactly 2 million bettors qualified to split the $10 mil — one assumes there was some rounding involved.
The promotion seemed promising when FanDuel announced it on Jan. 9. In this third year of sportsbooks paying for Super Bowl ad time, a live will-he-or-won’t-he situation with $10 million attached had the potential to get people talking more than previous gambling commercials.
The second ad in the series, dropped Jan. 17, offered an entertaining homage to Rocky IV, and even as people crunched the numbers and deduced that customers probably couldn’t expect a payout of more than a few bucks apiece, anticipation was building.
But all along, the questions loomed: What if Gronk misses? How lame would that be? And there’s no chance FanDuel dangles $10 million and then doesn’t pay it, right? So does the kick really even matter?
In the end, it did not. After all that buildup, the kick was no good, and it made no difference whatsoever to the qualifying customers. They have a $5 free bet that, if used on a winning wager, puts the amount won in the bettor’s bankroll while FanDuel keeps the $5 stake.
In this case, “destiny” was preordained, as many observers expected. While the faux debate rages on about whether the NFL is scripted, the end result of this creative promotion most definitely was.