How USA Today used a freeplay Leaderboard to retain betting-inclined fans at scale


In 2021, Gannett, the parent company of USA TODAY, formed an exclusive, multi-year partnership with Tipico, an international provider of sports betting and casino games. The agreement would leverage the combined benefits of Tipico's proprietary technology and gaming data with USA TODAY's extensive audience and content networks.

With states rapidly regulating sports betting, Gannett seized the opportunity to engage its betting-inclined audience at scale.

The team engaged Chalkline and the Daily Ticket was launched. In Fall of 2021, the Tipico Big Game Pick 6 Leaderboard Challenge went live, offering an all expenses paid trip PLUS two tickets to the NFL's Championship game for the fan with the best score predicting games in the final four weeks of the season.

The Big Game Pick 6 used freeplay games as a cost-efficient way to acquire and engage customers. But when the Leaderboard was added, the program became all the more powerful.

Here’s how a freeplay Leaderboard drove ROI for USA TODAY.


Our Results


Quickly Launched the Freeplay Program With a Leaderboard & Custom User Interface Design

  • Speed To Market - Freeplay was live in less than 2 weeks
  • Full Service Setup - Our award-winning account management team handled all of the heavy lifting
  • Game Types - USA TODAY started Day 1 with live odds pick'em games, player prop challenges and leaderboard contests in every major sport
  • Database building - Immediately demonstrated results through Chalkline's BettorBI analytics tool

Leaderboard Added a Powerful Retention Element to the Freeplay Cusromer Acquisition Program

  • Collaborated on a unique contest format designed to drive engagement and conversions in ADVANCE of The Big Game
  • Leaderboard married daily and season-long gameplay, offering both a massive overall prize as well as thousands of dollars in weekly prizes
  • "Always on" features gave players something to do in between games, helping USA TODAY manage the full event marketing lifecycle
  • Increased player engagement and retention led to an increase in real-money conversions
bettorbi analytics

Put Chalkline's Customer Analytics Tools to Work

  • Grew customer database with user-level analytics, rich personas and predictive modeling
  • Coordinated with marketing to align strategy and content
  • More freeplay games played = more customer data collected = more localized and personalized marketing = more revenue and higher ROI
  • Deployed state-level campaigns to get the best possible conversion rates throughout the fan engagement cycle

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