3 Tips for a Big Football Sweepstakes Score


Football season is back! Time for tailgating and weekend fun watching the pee-wee, high school, college and professional games. You might think that it would be a great time to promote your business by giving away game tickets or running a football sweepstakes. And it is! People love winning free tickets or team merchandise, especially autographed items or trips to big games. However, there are three questions to ask before you run that promotion.

run a football sweepstakes during football season
Photo courtesy of @CarsenRussellPhoto
  1. Will your promotion violate copyright or trademark laws?

You can’t mention the Super Bowl or NFL properties covered by copyright protection as prizes or part of your giveaway unless you are an official NFL or Super Bowl sponsor, and you should get permission from any college, high school or peewee team to mention their team or their games. If you don’t, then the entity that is copyrighted can shut down your promotion, or worse, take you to court where you will have to pay legal fines and fees.

  1. Is it legal?

Bets, bracket challenges and football squares can be fun between friends, but they could be illegal. Don’t let your business operate as if it was an unlicensed bookie. If you are requiring a purchase to enter (without a non-purchase method of entry) or if you are operating a contest or sweepstakes without rules, you are not operating a legal promotion in the United States. Make your promotion legal with Official Rules drafted by an attorney or promotional marketing agency (like Marden-Kane!), and always follow state and local laws.

  1. Can I handle the traffic?

If you run a TV ad for your promotion during a football game, be ready for the traffic surge to your store or web site. Ads promoting sweepstakes and contests during the Super Bowl or college bowl games can cause traffic surges that take web sites down, and retail locations could be overrun if you are promising free tickets to a big game. Plan accordingly!


As long as you set up your promotion legally, make sure you are not violating copyright laws, and you plan for any traffic surge from consumers that can’t wait to enter your promotion, you should be all set. Here are a few promotion ideas for football season:

  • For brands with retail locations: Run a ticket stub sweepstakes where if a customer brings in any ticket stub from a Friday night football game or wears a local team jersey they get a discount or an entry into a sweepstakes for tickets to professional games.
  • For a food and beverage company: Try a tailgating recipe contest using your brand as one of the recipe ingredients.
  • For local businesses supporting a particular team run a contest for the best photos or touchdown dance videos taken at the game and use a hashtag to track entries on Instagram or Twitter.

Have other ideas? Share them below!

If you are interested in running a sweepstakes, contest or other promotion related to football or high profile football games, including sourcing game tickets and experiences, contact us!

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Photo ©Carsen Russell 2017