Daily fantasy sports sites FanDuel, DraftKings finalizing ad campaigns
Legal Sports Report

DraftKings Sponsors ESPN Fantasy Football Marathon Again; New DFS Ad Campaigns Loom

ESPN DraftKings fantasy football
DraftKings is the presenting sponsor once again for the ESPN Fantasy Football Marathon.

The daily fantasy sports site also held that spot down in 2016. But this year the sponsorship comes during what is likely to be a pivotal time for the daily fantasy sports industry and competitor FanDuel ahead of the NFL season.

Presented by DraftKings

The presenting sponsorship by DraftKings is no shock after the DFS company also sponsored the inaugural marathon last year.

The marathon will include “28 straight hours of live fantasy football news, analysis and fun,” according to an ESPN press release.

There will be fantasy football-themed editions of shows like:

  • First Take
  • Jalen & Jacoby
  • Mike & Mike
  • NFL Live
  • Outside The Lines
  • SportsNation

Presumably there will also be a number of DraftKings commercials, although its ad campaign had not yet been revealed as of this week.

ESPN is obviously also promoting its season-long fantasy football app while getting the sponsorship dollars from DraftKings. ESPN is not in the DFS space as an operator, unlike competitor Yahoo.

ESPN and DraftKings had been close in the past

At one point in time, ESPN parent company Disney had been in the running to be an investor in DraftKings. That never developed, however.

But in 2015 a deal took place for DraftKings to commit to a massive ad spend in exchange for exclusivity as the official DFS offering on ESPN’s networks and online outlets.

That deal, however, fell through less than a year later.

TV ads for DFS?

Both DraftKings and FanDuel are in the process of finalizing their ad campaigns for the upcoming daily fantasy football season.

DraftKings said at a media event in New York City on Tuesday that the finishing touches were being put on its commercials. FanDuel also indicated to Legal Sports Report that its ads would be live soon.

We’re not going to see the sort of ad barrage we did in 2015, when the two companies spent hundreds of millions and dominated NFL games with their commercials.

Still, the two companies are fresh off an abandoned merger and are trying to gain a leg up in the DFS market. So how they approach their TV spend will be interesting to track.

Image courtesy of ESPN

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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.