A Quarter Of DraftKings 2015 TV Ads Have Aired In Past Week
Legal Sports Report

DraftKings’ TV Blitz: One Commercial Every 1.5 Minutes; $82 Million Spent In ’15

DraftKings has been averaging about one television commercial every one and a half minutes in recent days, and data provided to Legal Sports Report by a media tracking site shows exactly how big the daily fantasy sports site’s ad push has been in recent weeks.

Before NFL season, a lot of TV ads

DraftKings recently jumped into the top 10 in TV ad spend in the United States on a trailing seven-day basis, according to the site iSpot.tv, which tracks television ads in real time. In the past week or so, DraftKings has sat at No. 4 among all companies in spend, by iSpot’s tracking.

Here’s a screenshot as of Wednesday morning, showing that DraftKings has spent an estimated $16 million in the past week, with more than 6,600 commercials aired:

DraftKings No. 4 in TV

To put that in perspective, that means a DraftKings commercial is being aired once every 1 1/2 minutes (10,080 minutes in a week) in the United States across all television platforms. The 6,629 ads shown is the most aired by any company over that timeframe.

DraftKings, this year on TV

Information provided by iSpot gives an idea of what DraftKings has been up to on the television spending front.

Below is a screenshot from iSpot covering the first eight months of the year of television ad activity for DraftKings (January 1 through September 1). The site estimates that DraftKings has spent $82 million on ads this year, across more than 24,000 airings.

draftkings TV data

The graph visually shows how much DraftKings’ TV activity has ramped up in the past few weeks. (The other big spikes earlier in the year were in advance of the major championships in professional golf, as spend likely increased to attract players to DraftKings’ Millionaire Maker contests.)

Given the data for the year vis a vis the past week:

  • About a quarter of all of DraftKings ads for the year have been aired in the past week.
  • About 20 percent of DraftKings television ad spend has taken place in the past week.

Part of that push accompanies the rollout of DraftKings’ new ad campaign — Welcome to the Big Time — which launched on Sunday, with actor Edward Norton doing the voiceover:

The ad is also performing well on digital platforms. According to a representative from iSpot, the new Ed Norton ad “accounts for more than 17 percent of all digital activity (searches, social media, views), on less than one percent of spend ($505k so far), earning it an “effectiveness” ranking of 7.3, in an industry that hovers at 5.5.” (That ranking metric is on a scale of 1 to 10.)

The next week and a half for DraftKings

It’s September 2. NFL season starts on September 10, with most of DraftKings’ biggest NFL contests going live on September 13.

That means we probably haven’t even seen the peak of DraftKings’ spending on television ads. Based on its current rate of spending and the fact that the next week and a half might be the most crucial of the year for customer acquisition, it seems likely that:

  • DraftKings will eclipse $100 million in TV spending this year, before NFL season begins.
  • DraftKings will rise in the weekly ad spend rankings, with a good chance of becoming the No. 1 spender.

All of this boils down to a couple of key goals for DraftKings: Raising its brand awareness exponentially, while also acquiring massive amounts of new customers to play at its site.

If these two things don’t happen as a result of a massive television ad spend, it doesn’t bode well. Because at some point the spend has to be justified with new users and revenue. As Adam Krejcik of Eilers Research put it on Twitter in a discussion of DraftKings’ ad spend:

Yes, DraftKings is likely flush with cash after a $300 million round of funding. But that money has to be used with the end result of long-term profitability being on the horizon.

That makes this ad campaign and DraftKings’ massive outlay of TV spend one of the most crucial events in the history of daily fantasy sports.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.