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Circa surpasses $4M in contest guarantees; upsets cull Survivor

Circa Sports pulled off one of the biggest upsets of Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season when it surpassed $4 million in guarantees for its two $1,000-entry football contests.

Less than two weeks before Saturday’s entry deadline, Circa was staring at a $2.6 million overlay in its Circa Sports Million II and Survivor contests, with a combined 1,347 entries.

But the downtown Las Vegas sportsbook was slammed with sign-ups the last two weeks and ended up with 4,538 entries — 3,148 in the Million and 1,390 in Survivor.

“Super happy to pass our guarantees and put 100 percent of the entry fees back into the prize pool,” Circa sportsbook operations manager Jeff Benson said. “A major thank you to everyone who came out and supported us. The no-rake component and what was shaping up to be a large overlay ultimately drove a ton of interest for both contests.”

The 3,148 entries for Million shattered last year’s inaugural mark of 1,875 and almost tripled the number of $1,500 entries for the Westgate SuperContest.

The SuperContest has 1,172 entries this season, snapping a string of nine straight years of record sign-ups that hit a high of 3,328 last year.

Westgate sportsbook vice president Jay Kornegay said registration was down this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in fewer entries from out-of-state visitors who are required to register for the contest in person.

“It went beyond our expectations,” Kornegay said. “We understand the environment and what we’re facing. I know some people were thinking we were going to get 700 or 800, so to get over 1,100, we’re thrilled with that.”

In both contests, participants make five weekly NFL picks ATS. The Million pays $1 million to the champion, $900,000 for placers two through 50, $100,000 for the last-place booby prize and $287,000 in quarterly prizes.

Based on 1,172 entries in the SuperContest, the champion will win more than $435,000 and the contest will pay $135,000 in quarterly prizes.

There are 72 contestants in the Westgate’s $5,000-entry, winner-take-all SuperContest Gold, where the champion will win $360,000.

Upsets cull Survivor field

In Survivor, entrants pick a winning team straight up every week, with no point spreads, or get eliminated. The last entry standing wins $1.39 million.

The Colts were the most popular Survivor pick and wiped out almost a third of the field (425) when they lost to the Jaguars. An additional 126 entries were eliminated when the Eagles (77) lost to the Washington Football Team and the 49ers (49) were upset by the Cardinals.

“A ton of carnage in Week 1 in Survivor with lots of favorites going down,” Benson said. “Props to anyone still alive for being contrarian and avoiding the early landmines.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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