Jackpocket’s SVP of Marketing on the benefits of working with the NY Islanders

NY Islanders and Jackpocket
Image: Shutterstock

Sportsbooks in the US are making headlines every day with official partnerships with the major sports leagues and teams. Yet, the New York Islanders partnership making headlines last month was its renewed relationship with Jackpocket, which now serves as the official helmet sponsor for the NHL team.

Lottery Daily spoke with Jackpocket’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Michelle Wong about the partnership and how it helps strengthen awareness for the brand, lend it credibility, and help enforce a company ethos that places great importance on giving back to the community.

LD: It seems like you guys are succeeding more than others in the industry at unlocking new audiences. When did that process begin for you? Did you think it was necessary to aim the app toward a different audience or was that baked into the nature of the app?

Wong: Lottery is really unique in the sense that it appeals to basically anyone over 18. It’s a very broad audience, which is a blessing and a curse when you think about the market or who your target audience is. I think we like to think about it in like two different ways. We are fulfilling the needs of a traditional lottery player but making it more convenient to play on the app. We’re also bringing in new audiences and those that might not be traditional lottery players, but are younger, tech-savvy, and used to doing everything on mobile. That’s what’s really exciting to the lotteries themselves, that we’re bringing in this incremental new audience to them. And that’s really been a lot of fun to think through the different ways we can market and reach them via nontraditional channels.

LD: Speaking of interesting marketing, can you talk a little bit more about your helmet partnership with the New York Islanders? It is an interesting choice, especially given how many sports betting operators are taking up similar opportunities in the space.

Wong: I think we’re not necessarily competing directly with the sports betting partners. Like I said, our audience is much more diverse and broader. Almost half of our audience is women, so that’s actually probably a little bit different than on the sports betting side. 

Then, we roll out state by state, so that’s how we picked some of these sports partners. They have very loyal fan bases that have a natural overlap who are also lottery players. So when we shoot for a partner,  we’re thinking through from a brand awareness standpoint, acquisition standpoint, and also an engagement perspective, and making sure that there’s like a nice brand loyalty overlap as well. And then the biggest thing for us as we’re entering a new market is a credibility piece, right? Because the question is, are you guys legit? Is it a scam? Which is why we always talk about how many winners we have on our platform. We actually just announced our 20th million-dollar winner, which is incredible. 

But you know, when we’re partnering with someone like the New York Islanders, we can really borrow some of that brand credibility and brand equity. And really, it’s kind of a win-win in that sense, because we are a digitally-first native kind of company. We can lend our expertise in terms of our direct relationships with our customers, our players, and then we can help bring fans back for them to engage with their team, like giving out VIP experiences. So I think I like to look at it less like a sponsorship and more like an actual mutually beneficial partnership.

LD: Do you do any kind of storytelling within that marketing partnership about how your two brands relate or help to identify Jackpocket’s brand identity?

Wong: I think it depends on the life cycle. Right now we’re entering our third year of partnering with the New York Islanders, so I feel like we’ve already introduced ourselves as a brand to their fan base. We’ve now been in New York since January 2021. I think we are now naturally evolving to that storytelling element. Initially, when you’re introducing our product, it is very simple, which is amazing. Phone. Lottery. Right? 

We definitely have an overlap of how we want to engage with our audiences. During the July run-up, you might have seen that John Ledeckey purchased $50,000 of Mega Millions tickets on behalf of the season ticket holders via the Jackpocket app and that went viral. 

That was a really amazing activation. You know, he didn’t win big but if he had won a certain amount,  we would donate it back to the corporate social responsibility campaign and that was very much a part of our ethos. When you think about lottery beneficiaries like education and veterans, the lottery actually helps good causes, so I think that has overlap with the Islanders and other kinds of sports teams.