Legal Sports Report

DraftKings Vs. FanDuel Commercial Wars, Week 3: Tapering Off, Or More Of The Same?

FanDuel commercial
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Daily fantasy sports sites DraftKings and FanDuel continue to combine to spend roughly $30 million a week on television commercials. Is that a pace they are likely to keep up, or will we finally start seeing fewer ads in Week 3 of the NFL season?

$30 million a week?

Over the past seven days, DraftKings has spent an estimated $16.5 million, while FanDuel has spent $13.8 million, according to the media tracking site iSpot.tv.

Here is where DraftKings and FanDuel stand, according to iSpot, as of Thursday morning:

DFS commercials

Based on data LSR has compiled from the subscription-based site, DraftKings has spent more than an estimated $130 million on commercials in 2015, including nearly $25 million in a single week at one point. The amount FanDuel for the year has spent is unknown, although data collected since FanDuel has started appearing in iSpot’s top 10 spenders puts the site past $30 million spent this month.

Will FanDuel and DraftKings continue spending at this rate?

Week 3 seems like an unlikely spot for either site to let off the gas pedal on the advertising front. FanDuel built up some momentum from Week 1 to Week 2 of the NFL season; after experiencing a significant amount of overlay the first week, the site did much better on all its guaranteed contests last week. It’s at least possible FanDuel pulls back on commercials this week, but it’s likely not satisfied with the gains it made last week.

Meanwhile, DraftKings missed its mark in the $10 million Millionaire Maker, and had to overlay $1.5 million across all its guarantees. This week, it dropped the guarantee of its top contest to $7 million. It seems highly unlikely that DraftKings dials back its advertising efforts in the wake of a disappointing Week 2.

Neither site is profitable, yet, so their war chests for TV spending are not unlimited, despite massive rounds of funding that both completed this summer; and TV is far from the only expense for either site. So, the ads can’t go on at this pace forever, at least in theory.

We got a sense for FanDuel’s future advertising plans, in a story at Mashable:

As the season goes on, FanDuel says it will taper off its advertising slightly and roll out new spots so that TV viewers don’t get sick of watching the same commercials. DraftKings would not comment on any future advertising plans.

FanDuel has been airing different versions of its commercials, although it has not rolled out entirely new campaigns, like DraftKings has. FanDuel’s ads still fall into one of two categories — an actor telling us all about the product (like this) or player testimonials (like this).

Are you really seeing that many ads, or does it just feel like you are?

After the ad onslaught of NFL Week 1, people were loudly complaining about the number of ads from DraftKings and FanDuel on social media. At least during NFL game broadcasts this past week, it seemed like things were ratcheted down a bit, according to a survey of ads shown by Awful Announcing. 

There were still a lot of commercials — including many during the major pregame shows. AA also made this observation: “Sunday NFL Insiders was basically a DraftKings infomercial disguised as a pregame show.”

When you include FanDuel and DraftKings mentions in those shows, and with mentions as networks come back from commercial breaks, the two DFS sites’ presence on TV is still pervasive.

Will it be pervasive again in Week 3? Until we see evidence to the contrary, it is difficult to predict a different outcome.

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.
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