An exclusive partnership developed amid key moments for women’s athletics is giving lottery players in Iowa the chance to win coveted seats to some of the year’s hottest college sporting events, including the current sold-out seasons of Iowa™ women’s basketball and men’s wrestling.
The Iowa Lottery teamed up with Hawkeye Sports Properties on the project, ultimately producing two Hawkeye™-themed scratch games along with two accompanying sports-focused promotions.
Iowa Lottery CEO Matt Strawn said the collaboration with Hawkeye Sports Properties speaks to sports fans and lottery players alike, celebrating the pride that Iowans take in their sports teams, a sentiment intensified this year by record-setting achievements in women’s athletics.
“It’s always such a thrill to celebrate moments with our favorite teams, and through this joint effort, we’ve been able to capture that energy in a new way,” Strawn said. “For lottery winners, it means they’re getting to attend some of the hottest events going. And through our ticket sales, we’re continuing to produce results for the vital causes supported by the Iowa Lottery.”
The sports-focused partnership developed as attention caught fire across the country for women’s athletics.
The Iowa women’s basketball team reached the NCAA Division I championship game this past April and stand-out Iowa point guard Caitlin Clark has received numerous awards for her record-setting performances, including the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate or Olympic athlete. Clark became just the fifth women’s college basketball player to win the award in its 93-year history.
In August, Iowa announced that all home games had sold out for the upcoming 2023-24 season of Hawkeye women’s basketball. That same month, the Nebraska women’s volleyball team played one of its matches outside and brought in attendance of 92,003, the largest crowd to watch a women’s sporting event in the United States.
Then in October, the Iowa women’s basketball team kept enthusiasm amped up, playing one of its exhibition games outside before a crowd of 55,646, setting an NCAA single-game attendance record for a women’s basketball game.
Ryan Keenan, senior manager of business development for Hawkeye Sports Properties, said his team enjoyed collaborating with the Iowa Lottery and Pollard Banknote Limited to build Hawkeye themes into the design of lottery scratch games while customizing ticket prize packages for lottery winners.
“This gave us the opportunity to exercise our creativity in new ways,” Keenan said. “It’s been gratifying to see the collaboration produce entertainment for a whole lot of folks, bringing them to Iowa City for memorable experiences at our sports events. And that is layered on top of the meaningful difference lottery sales make for Iowa causes.”
The project ultimately yielded two $5 Hawkeye-themed scratch games very different in appearance.
The first, known as the “Tigerhawk™ Ticket,” debuted on July 6. Tickets in that game have a black background and feature images of Herky™, Iowa’s mascot, with a football-themed playstyle. Bold yellow boxes along the top of each ticket spell out I-O-W-A, reminiscent of the iconic flags that members of the school’s cheer squads wave for crowds at Iowa sports events.
The Tigerhawk Ticket offers cash prizes of $5 up to $50,000. Players who did not win an instant prize could enter nonwinning tickets in the game into a promotion for a chance to win exclusive football prize packages. The “Kickoff to Kinnick™” promotion began July 6 and was open to entries through the morning of Oct. 3. It offered a total of 41 ticket prize packages to 2023 home football games at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium, including some seats in a private suite with food, water, soda and merchandise provided.
Within days of the football promotion ending, another $5 Hawkeye-themed scratch game hit store shelves in Iowa. Tickets in the “Hawkeye Gold” game debuted Oct. 10 and feature basketball and wrestling symbols in the play area.
Hawkeye Gold tickets have a bright gold background and feature a large image of the Iowa Tigerhawk logo. As with the year’s initial Iowa-themed scratch game, Hawkeye Gold tickets have distinctive boxes along the top spelling out I-O-W-A and offer cash prizes ranging from $5 up to $50,000.
Players who don’t win instant prizes on their Hawkeye Gold tickets can enter them into a promotion for a chance to win exclusive college basketball and wrestling prize packages.
The “Countdown to Carver™” promotion began Oct. 16 and offers more than 100 ticket prize packages this season for Iowa men’s and women’s home basketball games and Iowa men’s home wresting meets at Carver-Hawkeye Arena™. The promotion will remain open to entries through the morning of Feb. 7, 2024. There will be five drawing dates in the promotion to award ticket prize packages, some for seats on a private terrace in Carver-Hawkeye with food, water and soda provided.
The Iowa Lottery has chosen to keep both Hawkeye-themed scratch games available at retail this fall, understanding that they each have a following, and players may bundle tickets from both games to give as holiday gifts.
“This project allowed us to highlight some of the incredible entertainment options we’re lucky to have here in Iowa,” Strawn said. “Through these games and promotions, we’re continuing to meet our promise of responsibly producing meaningful results for Iowans — and we’re spreading a lot of fun along the way.”