Circa Sports announced its 2020 football contests with a $3 million guaranteed prize pool and guaranteed $1 million first-place prize for Circa Sports Million II plus a new Circa Survivor contest, also with a $1 million guaranteed prize.
Both contests have $1,000 entry fees. Registration begins March 6, in advance of March Madness crowds coming to Vegas, at owner Derek Stevens’ downtown hotels at the Golden Gate and the D.
The Circa Sports Million, which limits entries to three per person and requires players to make five NFL picks a week against the contest spread, had a $1.5 million guarantee in its inaugural run last year, meaning it needed 1,500 entries to break even. But that was exceeded with 1,875, and the guarantee is being doubled. Besides the $1 million grand prize, $300,000 for second and $100,000 for third, Circa has raised the number of cashing spots from 10 to paying a total of $1.9 million to the top 50. The last spot is slated for $6,925, but it could be less due to ties. Circa also has added a $100,000 booby prize for the worst record over the full 17 weeks.
The quarter bonuses, which were very popular last year as they went from their $50,000 guarantee to $143,750 to the winner of each quarter of the season, have been increased to $250,000 — $150,000 for first each quarter, $75,000 for second and $25,000 for third. As a special perk, the first and second quarter winners for Weeks 1-4 and Weeks 5-8 will receive a free room at the grand opening of Circa Las Vegas in December.
Stevens has loved survivor pools for a long time, so he wanted to add a high-end contest this year with another $1 million prize. Circa Survivor also costs $1,000 to enter, with a maximum of five entries per person. You pick one winner straight up each week. Like standard survivor pools, you can use each team only once per season.
A new twist is that Thanksgiving, with three nationally televised games, will be its own week, for a total of 18 weeks. That adds extra strategy, as players will need to make sure they haven’t used all six teams playing that day.
If a single player goes 18-0, Stevens is guaranteeing a $1 million bonus.
To coincide with the release of contest rules, Circa posted a promotional behind-the-scenes video with the management team seemingly brainstorming ideas. However, the rule changes are strikingly similar to the ones discussed at a lunch hosted for proxies in December (at which Stevens made this reporter promise everything discussed was off the record until rules were finalized). But I will concede that it sounded then like the guarantee in the primary contest would be $2.5 million, so Circa must be more confident of getting closer to 3,000 entries in Year 2, and there was no discussion about the special Thanksgiving week.
SuperContest entries in full swing
The Westgate started taking entries for its 2020 contests — $1,500 SuperContest Classic, $5,000 SuperContest Gold and $500 SuperContest ReBoot — on Jan. 13. VSiN’s Brent Musburger was the first to register. For details, see our report on vsin.com/supercontest at https://www.vsin.com/westgate-opens-2020-supercontest-registrations-on-monday/