On the face of it, Sky Sports’ Super 6 is a great game for armchair pundits. Fronted by Soccer Saturday host, Jeff Stelling (pictured), players have to guess the final score of six selected matches, with the promise of a £100,000 prize to the lucky/amazingly intuitive winners.
That may sound a paltry sum to today’s Premier League stars, but it’s not bad when considering Super 6 is absolutely free to enter.
In reality, though, predicting the outcome of half a dozen games isn’t easy- I doubt many would have forecast Reading to beat Newcastle 2-1 last week, their first away win of the season.
I usually only ever get one or two results spot-on, the nature of football being so unpredictable.
As such, there have only ever been two jackpot winners in Super 6’s five year history. Interest is maintained, however, with a weekly £5,000 prize going to those who come closest to guessing all six results.
So what’s in this for Rupert Murdoch and his Sky empire? He doesn’t strike me the altruistic sort who would readily proffer big cash in the name of pure sporting fun.
One million players
Well, in November 2012, it was announced that Super 6 had registered its millionth player- a considerable potential audience when marketing the Sky Sports brand.
It’s also the ideal demographic for Murdoch’s online gambling franchise, Sky Bet.
You see, after submitting Super 6 entries, follow-up emails are sent to thank participants… and to also promote Sky Bet. This week’s message stated: “If you’re feeling confident then why not have a flutter on your own Super 6 accumulator? A £1 bet would return £29,” with a link to the site.
I’m sure, out of the 1million-plus players, many are tempted into having a cheeky little punt based on their predictions.
But… waitaminute! If the free Super 6 can generate a £100,000 win, or at least £5,000 if you come close, why would anyone bother gambling even £1 for a much, much smaller return? Has anyone else noticed this?
I’m no mathematician, but presumably a £1 bet returning £29 means the odds are 29/1. A long-shot. One worth taking if no money is at stake, but why part with cash when you’re so unlikely to win? Yet, it’s a ploy that must work.
It appears to me that Super 6 is just a loss-leading front to plug the highly profitable Sky Bet. Jackpot winners are extremely rare, so Murdoch’s only real outlay is the guaranteed £5k weekly prize.
If just 1% of Super 6’ers place just a £1 bet, Sky have already recouped double that outlay, but I suspect their profit margins run into far greater sums.
My advice: play the free game, compare scores with your mates and live in hope that maybe, just maybe, you’ll win big. But don’t get drawn into parting with your hard earned on Sky Bet.
Murdoch’s house will always win that game.