bannerFranchise News

Taco Bell's Latest Promotion Is Embracing the Growing Trend of Sports Betting

The QSR taco chain is upping the ante on its seventh annual ‘Steal a Base, Steal a Taco’ promotion by trying its luck at sports betting.

In May of 2018, the Supreme Court did away with the 26-year-old federal law that largely prohibited sports betting in the United States. Since then, the global sports betting industry has continued to grow—especially in the world of marketing

Today, Taco Bell announced it would be upping the stakes of it’s annual "Steal a Base, Steal a Taco" promotion by teaming with online sports betting company 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. 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 will be able to participate at MGM Resorts in Nevada, Mississippi and New Jersey, or by downloading the BetMGM digital app. BetMGM oddsmakers will use historical data and their odds-making process to post real odds, which will be updated as the Postseason progresses. 

By including real-money wagers in its annual World Series giveaway, Taco Bell is adding an extra dimension to the promotion that may urge more people to participate. The bold marketing decision is an example of foodservice brands that are experimenting with ways to add sports betting into promotions that previously were limited to product giveaways or non-cash prizes. As more states legalize sports betting, franchisors may shift their strategies to include more online gambling.

As smartphones become the best platform by which franchisors can best reach their audience—whether it be through loyalty apps or mobile games—online betting will become easier than ever to incorporate into marketing campaigns. In fact, 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 to10 years, the Associated Press reported. 

This isn’t the first time Taco Bell has prioritized sports content within its marketing strategy to reach larger 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.

Only time will tell if online sports betting is the next big thing in QSR marketing, but one thing is for sure—everyone's a winner when free tacos are involved.