- Taco Bell updated its "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco" promotion by teaming with BetMGM to give baseball fans in states where sports betting is legal a chance to wager real money on players they think will steal the first base of the World Series, per an announcement. That player will be named the "Taco Hero," and the fast food chain will announce a date for when fans can receive free Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos at participating U.S. locations.
- Fans can place bets on base-stealing players at MGM Resorts in Nevada, Mississippi and New Jersey, or by downloading the BetMGM digital app in New Jersey or playMGM in Nevada. BetMGM posted prop bets on Oct. 14, showing a list of active players from the four remaining playoff teams. BetMGM oddsmakers are using historical data to post real odds that are updated throughout the post-season.
- Fans who register on Taco Bell's website or app can redeem the free tacos online or through their mobile device on the announced redemption day. The World Series starts on Oct. 22.
By adding real-money wagers to its annual "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco" giveaway, Taco Bell is adding an extra dimension to the promotion that may urge more people to participate. The move signals that brands are experimenting with ways to add sports betting to promotions that previously were limited to product giveaways or non-cash prizes. As more states legalize sports betting, marketers may shift their strategies to include gambling tie-ins if early test runs are successful.
Sports betting likely will become a key form of mobile entertainment in the next decade. Gambling and technology executives forecast that 90% of sports betting in the U.S. will happen on mobile phones or the internet in the next five to 10 years, the Associated Press reported. An executive for CG Technology, a licensed Nevada bookmaker, said at the East Coast Gaming Conference in June that 60% of the company's bets were submitted through its mobile apps, suggesting that smartphones could be the best platform on which marketers can reach this audience.
Legalized sports betting could be a boon for TV ad revenue, which several advertisers looking to move into the space. Earlier this year, Caesars Entertainment and DraftKings partnered on a multi-state agreement covering daily fantasy sports, online gaming and sports betting.
Taco Bell's "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco" promotion is now in its seventh year as the chain weaves more sports content into its marketing strategy to reach target audiences. In April, Taco Bell sponsored Bleacher Report's House of Highlights, an Instagram account around professional basketball. In the weeks after the 2019 Super Bowl, Taco Bell partnered with T-Mobile on a "Taco Tuesdays" promotion that led to record highs in daily hourly digital transactions.