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A Good Bet: More Sponsorships On Behalf Of State Lotteries

State lotteries can provide valuable marketing support through property-themed instant-win tickets.

Although their budgets may have taken a hit over the past several years, state lotteries continue to expand their sponsorship portfolios.

Indeed, much of the category’s recent activity has been with the NFL following the league’s decision in 2009 to loosen restrictions on team deals. But lotteries are increasingly aligning with other types of properties as well.

Case in point: The Pennsylvania Lottery this year has inked new partnerships with the Wawa Welcome America 4th of July celebration in Philadelphia and the AFL Philadelphia Soul and Pittsburgh Power. The ties add to existing deals with pro sports teams, collegiate teams and community events.

The deals follow a slew of new ties between lotteries and NFL teams over the past two years. Those include the Missouri Lottery and the St. Louis Rams; the California State Lottery and the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers; and the Florida Lottery and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Lotteries largely use sponsorship to accomplish three main objectives: gain platforms to develop instant-win tickets, engage new audiences and access on-site sales rights.

The California Lottery activates the Oakland Raiders and other sponsored teams by creating team-themed scratch-off tickets.

“The NFL has a very passionate fan base. Sponsorship gives us an opportunity to tap into that passion and reach new audiences,” said Alex Traverso, the lottery’s assistant deputy director of corporate communications.

The lottery pays each team $450,000 and 1 percent of ticket sales, he said.

The California Lottery also uses sponsorship to access season tickets and other inventory that can be used in second-chance drawings.

For example, the lottery’s San Francisco 49ers ticket dangled season tickets, autographed merchandise, a trip to an away game and other prizes as part of a second-chance drawing. Consumers entered the drawing at

Other lotteries leverage pro sports teams to access promotional platforms for second-chance offerings. The Ohio Lottery in May rolled out Boot for Loot, a second-chance drawing promotion around its sponsorship of the MLS Columbus Crew. The promotion dangles the chance to win $10,000 by kicking a field goal at the team’s Sept. 10 home game.

“The lottery category has turned from branding to activation over the last ten yeas,” said Chris Previte, the Crew’s vice president of corporate partnerships.

Property-themed lottery tickets aren’t limited to pro sports teams. The Kansas Lottery this year leveraged its sponsorship of the Wichita Riverfest with the Riverfest Riches! instant-win ticket.

In addition to the ticket’s $25,000 grand prize, the lottery offered a $40,000 second-chance prize to play up Riverfest’s 40th anniversary. The lottery held the drawing at the event on June 11, the last of day of the festival, said Meg Bieberle, advertising coordinator with the Kansas Lottery.

The Riverfest Riches! ticket also dangled a free admission pin as a secondary instant-win prize, said Bieberle, adding that winners could redeem the ticket at the lottery’s on-site trailer for the actual pin.

Partnerships with state lotteries can provide valuable exposure for pro sports teams and other types of rightsholders.

For example, the St. Louis Rams attributes a scratch-off ticket launched last year to building exposure in non-traditional marketing channels.

“The ticket gave us exposure at retail outlets where we didn’t have a presence. It helped start a conversation about our brand,” said Bob Reif, the Rams’ executive vice president of sales and marketing and chief marketing officer.

The ticket’s second-chance drawing also has helped the team gain fans, he added. The Rams last year converted two non-fans into fans after they won a trip to fly with the team to Seattle for the last game of the season.

“We had an opportunity to convert them into fans, and now they’re season-ticket holders.”

California State Lottery, Tel: 916/323-7095
Kansas Lottery, Tel: 785/296-5700
Columbus Crew, Tel: 614/447-2739
St. Louis Rams, Tel: 314/982-7267

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Tips On Selling And Working With State Lotteries

Below, IEG SR offers tips on selling the lottery category:

Provide on-site sales rights. Like other types of marketers, lotteries are increasingly looking for new sales outlets. As a result, rightsholders should offer on-site real estate for lottery vending machines.

Where possible, properties should provide co-branded T-shirts and other merchandise to incent sales. The Kansas Lottery will leverage the June 23-26 94.5 Country Stampede presented by Verizon music festival by offering a free T-shirt to consumers that purchase $10 worth of tickets from its on-site trailer.

Help support community initiatives. Lotteries frequently use sponsorship to demonstrate community support.

For example, the Massachusetts State Lottery actives its long-running sponsorship of the NBA Boston Celtics by presenting the team’s Heroes Among Us program, a 14-year-old initiative that recognizes military veterans and other local heroes.

“We honor heroes at every game, which ties into the Massachusetts State Lottery’s community initiatives. We’ve been doing it for a long time, and it’s been replicated by other teams,” said Ted Dalton, the Celtics’ vice president of corporate partnerships and business development.

Lotteries also look for opportunities to support their fundraising missions. The California State Lottery leverages its sponsorship of the Ventura County Fair by presenting the fair’s Read and Ride program, an initiative that supports the lottery’s mission of providing supplemental funding for public schools.

Help promote prizes. In addition to scratch-and-win tickets, lotteries frequently use sponsorship to promote Powerball jackpots.

As a result, properties should offer virtual signage and other media assets to provide prize updates. For example, the Illinois Lottery leverages the NHL Chicago Blackhawks by using virtual signage to promote jackpot prizes.

“They can use the partnership to their advantage due to the flexibility of virtual signage,” said Dave Knickerbocker, the Blackhawks’ senior executive director of marketing and business development.

Be prepared to work with licensing firms. Properties that plan to work with NBA, NHL and MLB teams should be prepared to work with MDI Entertainment, LLC, the exclusive lottery ticket licensee for the three leagues.

Case in point: The Chicago Blackhawks worked with the NHL and MDI to create a Stanley Cup-themed scratch-and-win ticket.

“If the Illinois Lottery wants to do a Blackhawks game, it’s routed through us. We have exclusive rights with the NHL,” said Steve Saferin, president of Scientific Games properties group and chief creative officer. MDI is a subsidiary of Scientific Games Corp., a supplier of instant-win lottery tickets.

The Stanley Cup-themed scratcher sold three million tickets, said Knickerbocker.

Know time constraints. It typically takes lotteries six months or less to create property-themed scratch-and-win tickets.

That time period can be shorter. The Missouri Lottery developed an NFL St. Louis Rams ticket in less than two months, said Bob Reif, the team’s executive vice president of sales and marketing and chief marketing officer.

“It was amazing. We met in June and launched the ticket in August.”

Be prepared for one-year contracts. Because money cannot be spent until annual budgets are approved, state lotteries typically look for one-year contracts or multi-year contracts that allow the option of ending the deal after each year.

Boston Celtics, Tel: 617/854-8000
Chicago Blackhawks, Tel: 312/455-7000
St. Louis Rams, Tel: 314/982-7267
Scientific Games Corp., Tel: 212/754-2233

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