- Buffalo Wild Wings is partnering with DraftKings to create a fantasy football game that customers can play on the chain’s app.
- The chain’s investment in fantasy sports reveals Buffalo Wild Wings’ interest in entering the sports gambling business following the end of a federal ban on sports betting.
- Earlier this year, the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings’ parent company told Business Insider that he was aiming to figure out a “21st-century incarnation of what made it so successful during particularly the early 2000s,” in an effort to turn around the chain.
Buffalo Wild Wings’ latest plan to get customers in the door reveals a shift in strategy for the chain.
On Wednesday, the chain announced it is partnering with fantasy sports-website DraftKings to create a fantasy football game called “Blazin’ Fantasy Football.” The game is played via Buffalo Wild Wings’ app.
Starting September 9, customers can log into Buffalo Wild Wings’ app to play the game, which starts at the kick offs and halftimes of every 1 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET football game. Buffalo Wild Wings is giving out prizes to winners, including free wings and gift cards, with up to 600 weekly winners.
In addition to the partnership, Buffalo Wild Wings is also the official sponsor of DraftKing’s Thursday Night Showdown, which awards $US10,000 in prize money.
Buffalo Wild Wings’ investment in fantasy football reveals a shift in strategy, as the chain contemplates bringing sports gambling into its business following a May Supreme Court decision that lifted the federal ban on sports betting.
“As the largest sports bar in America, we believe Buffalo Wild Wings is uniquely positioned to leverage sports gaming to enhance the restaurant experience for our guests,” the chain said in a statement to Business Insider earlier in August.“We are actively exploring opportunities, including potential partners, as we evaluate the next steps for our brand.”
While fantasy football didn’t fall under the now defunct federal sports betting ban, Buffalo Wild Wing’s investments in the area reveal a chain that is increasingly trying to engage with customers. Instead of marketing itself purely as a place to watch games, fantasy sports and gambling allow Buffalo Wild Wings to distinguish itself as a hub for customers who have something riding on the game.
Perhaps down the road, Buffalo Wild Wings will even be the platform through which these bets can be placed, something that is now happening with the Blazin’ Fantasy Football game.
Buffalo Wild Wings seems unlikely to stop with fantasy football. On Thursday, the chain’s social media account quote tweeted a statement from the MLB, NBA and PGA about regulating sports betting, adding nothing but a mysterious eyes emoji.
Buffalo Wild Wings has struggled in recent years with slumping sales and a monthslong battle between executives and an activist investor before being acquired by Arby’s parent company, Roark Capital Group, in February. At the time, CEO Paul Brown told Business Insider that executives planned to try to find new ways for the chain to innovate.
“I think that if you look back when Buffalo Wild Wings was really, really, really successful, it was really the only one out there doing what it was doing,” Brown said. “We had a nationalized local sports bar, and then more competition has come in, and I think that some of that competition has been a little bit more innovative.”
Brown continued: “I think there’s an opportunity to figure out the 21st-century incarnation of what made it so successful during particularly the early 2000s.”
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