Sports

NBC Sports Rolls Out Free Pick ‘Em Contest Just in Time For Sunday Night Football

NBC Sports is looking to give fans another reason to tune-in to Sunday Night Football (SNF) with the debut of a free pick contest with real cash prizes.

Sunday Night Football could be a bit more interesting this year with a pick contest for real money. (Image: Parade)

The SNF team is calling Thursday’s Green Bay Packers/Chicago Bears tilt, the first game of the 2019 NFL regular season. But the pick competition will be made available to fans prior to the start of Sunday’s Pittsburgh Steelers/New England Patriots contest.

“Sunday Night 7,” as the game is called, is similar to other predictive gaming efforts that were tested around the NFL during the preseason. Such contests pose questions to fans pertaining to in-game outcomes, such as what team will score first, what quarterback will throw for the most yards, and what receiver will have the most receptions.

“Sunday Night 7” will be free to play, but features $100,000 in guaranteed weekly prizes and $2 million in rewards over the course of the season.

The NFL free-to-play prediction game, Sunday Night 7, is a weekly game that features seven-question contests focused on the upcoming NBC game, providing viewers with a new way to engage, and additional rooting interests every Sunday evening,” said NBC Sports in a statement.

SNF is NBC’s marquee program and serves as a major driver of advertising dollars for the broadcaster. The network says the Sunday night NFL program has been the top-rated primetime show in the US for eight straight years.

Broadcast Gamification

Although predictive gaming isn’t wagering because participants don’t risk any of their own capital, leagues, networks, and teams view these offerings as ways to boost audience engagement. Data confirm that fans that are financially committed to a game are more likely to watch that competition on television than those without a stake in the outcome.

NBC’s “Sunday Night 7” isn’t the network’s first effort at broadcast “gamification.” The broadcaster offers similar predicting gaming contests when it’s airing the English Premier League (EPL), NASCAR, and PGA Golf.

NBC Sports Washington, the network’s affiliate in the nation’s capitol, ran a free predictive contest with cash prizes during the Washington Redskins recently completed NFL exhibition season. Top performers in that game earned cash rewards of up to $1,000.

The Los Angeles Rams also tinkered with a similar competition, known as “Rams Pick ‘Em,” during the preseason, but cash wasn’t on the line in that game.

What’s Next

There are sure to be plenty of competitors in SNF’s “Sunday Night 7.” Last year, the program averaged total audience delivery of 19.6 million viewers per broadcast, and was the dominant program in the 18-49 age range, which includes prized demographics such as millennials and Gen Z. In 2018, SNF’s viewership was 52 percent above the most-viewed scripted show, CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.”

After this Sunday’s game, six of SNF’s 2019 broadcasts involve teams from Los Angeles and Chicago, the second- and third-largest US media markets, respectively. Another three feature the Dallas Cowboys, one of the most watched teams in the league. The defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, also appear on SNF three times this year.

Todd Shriber

Gaming Financials, Casino Business----Todd Shriber got his start in financial markets as a reporter with Bloomberg News. Later, he became a trader at a Southern California-based long/short hedge fund, where he specialized in trading sector and international ETFs leading up to and during the financial crisis. Currently, he analyzes, researches, and writes on ETFs for a variety of Web-based publications and financial services firms. Shriber has been quoted in Barron's, CNBC.com, and The Wall Street Journal. His work has been published on sites such as Benzinga, ETF Daily News, ETF Trends, MarketWatch, Fox Business, and Nasdaq.com. He joined the Casino.org news writing team in 2019, and lives in Southern California, where he enjoys golf and taking his black lab to the dog park. When in Las Vegas, he likes to wager on college football, the NBA, three-card poker, and roulette, even though he knows better. Email: todd.shriber@casino.org

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Todd Shriber