Colorado is one of five states in which sports bettors will have a chance to bet $100 to win $1 million, as DraftKings debuts its Championship Series Millionaire Bracket for March Madness. The bracket is also available in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, and West Virginia, and the company is guaranteeing $2 million in total prize money. DraftKings is hoping to make the contest available in more U.S. jurisdictions before March Madness tips off.
The top three at the end of the tournament will get $1 million, $250,000, and $125,000, respectively, and entrants placing up to 1,500th are guaranteed at least $150. DraftKings touts the Championship Series as “the world’s top live and online competition series for skin-in-the game fans.” The event offers a series for sportsbook, daily fantasy, and casino platforms, each with its own Tournament of Champions. For sportsbook users, bettors can also enter the Football Survivor Pool and the Football Pick’em National Championship, among other competitions. The company will award a total of $150 million in total Championship Series prize money across its platforms this year.
This year’s March Madness, which will be played exclusively in Indianapolis, is highly anticipated after the NCAA canceled the event for the first time in history last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions.
“This is our first time doing this contest in this specific way and although March Madness contests have been done in the past, they mostly have been through office pools. We now have the technology to execute this type of contest,” DraftKings Head of Sportsbook Johnny Avello told CoBets. “March Madness is one of the biggest events of the year and was sorely missed in 2020, therefore this is going to be extraordinarily popular.”
Colorado, Colorado State poised to get bids
With Selection Sunday set for March 14, Colorado is a projected No. 6 seed and Colorado State is a projected No. 11 seed, according to the Sporting News.
Members of the Pac-12, the Buffaloes are ranked No. 24 nationally and are the only Pac-12 team ranked in the AP Top 25. As of March 4, the Buffaloes were 20-7 overall, 14-6 in conference, following a 75-61 win over Arizona State on Thursday night. Colorado last reached the NCAA Tournament in 2016, when it was eliminated by Connecticut in the Round of 64. The Pac-12 conference tourney begins March 10 in Las Vegas, and the title game will be played on March 13.
The Buffaloes last year signed a partnership with PointsBet, making Colorado one of the first college programs to partner with a sportsbook. PointsBet, which has its North American headquarters in Colorado, also has partnerships with the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.
SCOOP: First college sports betting partnership nets University of Colorado $1.6 mill, PointsBet tax write-offs.https://t.co/9HxFLZ0c9H
— Sam McQuillan (@sam_mcquill) October 3, 2020
As of March 4, the Rams sat in second place in the Mountain West Conference behind San Diego State. The teams are tied with 13-4 conference records, but SDSU is 20-4 overall while CSU is 17-4. Colorado State last got to March Madness in 2013, when it lost to No. 1 seed Louisville in the second round. The Rams entered the tournament as an 8-seed that year, the highest seeding the school has ever received. The Mountain West conference championship opens March 10 in Las Vegas. The title game is set for March 13.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions, the NCAA can remove teams in advance of the start of the tournament. DraftKings will notify entrants if a team they have selected has been removed, and entrants will able to edit picks until tip-off. If a team is removed after the tournament begins, DraftKings will automatically replace that pick with a pre-selected replacement team, but entrants will not be able to make changes themselves.
Since Colorado launched its sportsbooks on May 1, 2020, more than $1.5 billion in wagers have been laid, and bookmakers cleared $200 million in handle per month between September and January, the last month for which figures were available. BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, and FanDuel all went live on May 1.