Greenblatt discusses BetMGM’s Super Bowl takeover

BetMGM sportsbook logo
Image: Shutterstock

BetMGM and its CEO Adam Greenblatt went into this year’s Super Bowl with a plan: make sure anyone coming to Vegas knew what BetMGM was. From the moment people touched down at the airport, visitors would see the BetMGM logo everywhere from baggage claim to taxi cabs to billboards. And, of course, the brand was up and down the Las Vegas Strip at every MGM Resorts property.

The only area they forgot?

“We didn’t think about the airport for the private jets,” Greenblatt joked. 

Everything else though, the company had covered. That included a tailor-made strategy for each property, so BetMGM’s footprint at the Luxor would be substantially different from a property like Bellagio.

“The plan for each property was property specific, based on proximity to the stadium, based on the footprint of the sportsbook,” Greenblatt recalled. “It was really detailed and tailored planning for each property, but the experience and what we were aiming for was an immersive experience for basically all visitors to Las Vegas.”

With MGM Resorts owning every propert on the west side of the Strip from Bellagio all the way south to Mandalay Bay, even the walk to Allegiant Stadium was a wall-to-wall BetMGM experience.

“Nevada is the fulcrum of our omnichannel strategy. It’s a it’s a state where, frankly, as a brand, we flex in a way that that is more challenging to do in other states obviously given the competitive landscape,” Greenblatt noted.

Within the casinos themselves, BetMGM and MGM Resorts curated a host of programming. The BetMGM Big Bash brought in Bill Burr and, fresh off the most buzzed about performance at the Grammys, Luke Combs

While it was called a big bash, it was a relatively small concert of 2,000 people and included a meet and greet where even Greenblatt “got to give Luke a cuddle.”

Some VIPs got an even more exclusive experience. Tom Brady and Wayne Gretzky were interviewed by Vince Vaughn and regaled the small audience with stories of their careers and to promote BetMGM’s first Super Bowl ad.

As Greenblatt explained, the idea was to create a wide range of experiences and touchpoints between the brands and customers.

“You have a base of good players who love what we do. But those players aren’t all the same. Some players like baseball, some players like parlays, some players like big tickets, some players like high volatility games. So our job is to make every player feel like we understand them and they are special to us. As I look through that lens, and then look at our activations, I feel like we did that.”

The lead-up to Las Vegas’s first Super Bowl was hectic for BetMGM as they tackled a multi-pronged approach to the big game including on-site deployments at every property, prepped its ad and, most crucially, rolled out a new version of its Nevada app. If that didn’t happen, all that planning 

Prior to February, the Nevada BetMGM app was on a different tech stack than other states. In other words, anyone coming to Nevada used to have to download a different version of BetMGM in addition to registering in person at a casino before being able to bet.

It was crucial to deploy that new app with Nevada regulatory approval in advance of the Super Bowl. BetMGM managed to do it with 10 days to spare. To Greenblatt, it felt much closer.

“As an emotion, it was uncomfortably short,” he admitted. “It was a huge effort with a very, very long lead time, because it’s like landing this giant plane on a tiny runway.”

BetMGM deserves a certain amount of plaudits for mobilizing and executing such a big campaign. But, for something of this scope, it is very important to ask–did it work?

Greenblatt cited several metrics to indicate it did. Year-over-year, across the nation, new sign-ups for BetMGM around the Super Bowl were up 72%.On the ground, 68% of the geolocations in Las Vegas on game day came from within Allegiant Stadium, indicating these visitors got the message, be it at the airport, at their hotel, or en route to the stadium. And that engagement with BetMGM didn’t end there.

“The majority of those people in that stadium aren’t local to Las Vegas. But many of them are going to go home to sports betting states, and they have BetMGM in their pockets. And that, for us, is why Nevada is so very important to our national business.”

Omnichannel is a word that is integral to the operator’s strategy. It makes sense given the company’s strong brick and mortar presence not just in Vegas but throughout the U.S. But as the company expands, the omnichannel ethos is not just about creating synergies with retail and online gambling.

“What we want to do is be close to the action in something that our players love to engage with and involve themselves with, which is live sports, which is actually also consistent with the thinking around our Twitter relationship, by the way. The conversation, the macro conversation around live sports, is there,” Greenblatt said, mentioning the company’s new partnership with X (formerly Twitter) as an official odds provider.

When sports fans don’t have a big game in Vegas bringing them together, social media remains the town square. Even on a random Monday in March, Greenblatt noted that three of the top ten stories on the platform were sports-related.

As an operator that wants to meet customers where they are at, positioning itself within a social network is the next step of the omnichannel experience. Sports bettors can come to Vegas, be introduced to BetMGM and even come home with the app on their phone, but is BetMGM wants engagement the other 364 days of the year, placing itself at the central of the sports discussion is essential. Flagship events like the Super Bowl will always remain great opportunities for activations but the underlying idea of being adjacent to the live sports experience is something that BetMGM, through its X deal, can replicate throughout the year.