Sportsbooks Lose Enthusiasm for NFL Ad Purchases

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When the NFL season got underway a month and a half ago, deep-pocketed sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings eagerly began buying airtime to advertise their services during games. The relationship has weakened recently, however, with the books taking a huge step back in how much they’re willing to spend. FanDuel still leads, but it seems like the love affair between the sportsbooks and NFL advertising has taken on a new dimension.

Sportsbooks Retreat from NFL Ads

Early in the NFL season, sportsbooks like FanDuel and DraftKings spent more than $21 million advertising during NFL games so they could try to attract more attention. With football being the best sport for betting in the US, it seemed to be a good idea at the time. However, the latest reports show that the books are no longer willing to open their wallets. That will likely change approaching the Super Bowl next February.

According to, FanDuel had purchased an average of 41 ad units a week in the first month of the NFL season. Now, it’s down to ten. Overall, 30 units were purchased by the books in Week 4, with the figure dropping to 14 in Week 5. FanDuel is still the spending champ, controlling 45% of the spending with its $28 million since the first kickoff. DraftKings has only spent $15.33 million, but saw the biggest drop in Week 5. Instead of the $7.29 million it spent in Week 1, it only spent $460,000 to appear during this past Sunday’s games.

Financial Outlay Not the Only Consideration

The retreat is likely not just a product of financial expenses, although it isn’t likely that FanDuel has come close to recuperating its NFL ad investment. There exists another possibility, which could be that the books are becoming more responsible. As has already been seen in other countries, conversations about limiting when and where sportsbooks can advertise are increasing and, perhaps, sportsbooks are going to proactively limit themselves in order to try to stave off any unwarranted attacks.

Just because sportsbooks are slowing down their ad spends doesn’t mean their slowing down their daily routines. The next couple of years are going to see a significant uptick in how sportsbooks interact with sports broadcasters and other channels, with long-time sports personalities being added to sportsbooks’ lineups.

One example is with Adam Schefter, an established sports analyst and ESPN’s Senior NFL Insider. His contract will expire next summer and, according to rumors, Schefter could end up at Caesars Sportsbook if ESPN doesn’t offer him a lucrative deal. Adrian Wojnarowski, an NBA Insider for ESPN, is another high-profile figure who is apparently being scouted by sportsbooks. In both cases, however, no definitive moves are in place.

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