It’s only a matter of time before the US implements advertising restrictions on the gaming industry, just like those being seen in the UK and elsewhere. Until that happens, though, gaming operators will look to plug their services as much as possible. The NFL season has arrived, to the delight of sports fans and bettors everywhere, and the competition to gain a larger piece of the sports betting market in the US has operators wasting no time in vying for position. Over the Week 1 weekend, sportsbooks spent more than $21 million in TV advertising.
Sportsbooks Vie for Position
For the longest time, the NFL banned sports betting ads during games. That was, in no small part, due to the sports betting prohibition in place until PASPA was erased in 2018. However, the league is now ready to fully embrace sports betting everywhere it can, dropping the ban only weeks before the latest season got underway.
According to Anthony Crupi of Sportico, sportsbooks unveiled ads across all major networks during NFL coverage, spending $21.4 million to get their brands in front of consumers. Especially with a record-breaking number of wagers expected, the NFL doesn’t want to miss out on any potential revenue. However, it has placed some limitations that, perhaps, will stave off any potential calls for whistle-to-whistle bans like what the UK is experiencing. Networks can run up to six gambling ads per game – one per quarter and one each in the pregame show and during the halftime break.
Sports betting ads were among the most watched during the games. Gambling was the sixth-largest ad category in Week 1, coming right behind the usual suspects – insurance, vehicle brands, streaming services, fast food and wireless. Curiously, despite wanting to sell its name for $3 billion in a sports betting branding deal, ESPN didn’t have a single sports betting ad during its broadcast of the game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens.
DraftKings with the Deepest Pockets
Of all the sportsbooks to advertise during Week 1, FanDuel wanted the most exposure. It accounted for almost half of the more than 90 advertising units purchased from CBS, Fox and NBC. FanDuel ranked fourth in terms of overall ad spend, coming just after insurance companies Geico and Progressive and streaming TV service DirecTV Stream. The operator was joined by DraftKings, Caesars Entertainment and BetMGM.
Despite buying more ad air time, FanDuel wasn’t the biggest spender from the gambling market. That was DraftKings, which spent $9.81 million on in-game ad units. FanDuel spent just over half that amount – $5 million – and Caesars spent $3.84 million. BetMGM came in with $2.7 million for its nine units.
The NFL has welcomed sportsbooks with open arms, making virtually all of the major books its partners just before the new season started. Not all advertised during Week 1, though – WynnBET and PointsBet remained on the sidelines – but the league knows what it’s doing. Per Crupi’s estimates, if the books continue to advertise at the same pace they did in Week 1, NFL TV is going to receive around $400 million from the gambling space this season.