Circa NFL Survivor Contest Saw Early Carnage Like Never Before

Written By Nicole Russo on October 18, 2022
Circa Derek Stevens

The Circa Sports Survivor Contest has been all over social media lately, mostly for the huge guarantee and the havoc the first few weeks of the NFL have wreaked on the player pool.

We sat down with Derek Stevens, owner of Circa Resort Casino at G2E in Las Vegas to get the scoop about this year’s contests, whether or not they will expand to other states, and what is next for Circa.

The Circa contests are underway, but over 41% of the remaining survivor player pool was knocked out during NFL Week 5. How does that compare to other years?

Approximately 771 players were left. Effectively, 85% of the field has been knocked out through Week 5, which is crazy. We have never seen anything like this. Even in other contests going back decades, people haven’t seen anything like the carnage we have seen through the first five weeks of the NFL.

The carnage has been getting a lot of traction on social. Do you feel like it is better or worse when you have outcomes like this so early on?

People ask me that a lot, and I have said from Week 1, and I say it every year, I don’t want people to get knocked out. We are going to be paying out $6.1 million regardless. I want people to last as long as they can because I want them to enjoy Circa Survivor and think about the contest and think about the property. I want them to get through Thanksgiving and have that sweat on Thanksgiving Day.

Are the contests something you see expanding outside of Nevada, even if it’s on a smaller scale? Or do you think this is something that will always be a Circa Sports Nevada product?

The only true way to answer that is to say, ” I don’t know”. There are too many other variables that are going to come in to play with Wire Act related issues and other things. If we could add it to other states, we would figure out a way to do it. But, as of right now, we are going to continue to grow this the way we started it.

Each year for the contest, you host a big sign up event with expert panels and free concerts. Should customers look forward to that every year?

By the time you get to August, all of a sudden football is on the news and people start to talk about their favorite college teams and the Heisman. There’s a certain excitement that starts growing in August. That level of excitement is pretty cool, and for us, we try to get in four weeks of sign ups that allows us to be flexible. People can put it on the calendar and make plans to come out and visit us in the desert in August.

What is on the horizon for Circa? Anything customers should be looking out for?

Within Nevada, we just opened our Phase 2 at Circa properties, which is all of our ballroom and meeting space. This means we have more places for man caves and more places for big events on various sports weekends. We are having large fights on the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. The ballroom and meeting space was always planned, it was just a later phase project for us. It just opened and it will provide a lot of great viewing experiences for both live events and watch parties. You can book the man caves online now.

Circa is expanding into the Illinois sports betting and Colorado sports betting markets. Illinois should open during Q1 of next year.

For more information on reserving seating for upcoming sporting events at Circa, click here.

Photo by Associated Press
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Nicole Russo

Nicole Russo is the Brand Content Strategist for Previously, she covered the gambling industries in Tennessee and Indiana as a content editor for and She comes from the world of poker, leading the marketing efforts for online poker in Nevada and New Jersey with the WSOP. Russo also assisted with the marketing efforts for the Caesars Sportsbook launch in 2019.

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