With legal Super Bowl betting likely hitting an all-time high this year, sportsbook advertising will blitz the big game’s airwaves.
Sportsbook ads have run rampant the past year, reminding USA Today Ad Meter Editor Rick Suter of another period of time in advertising.
“It’s a space I can only compare to the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s,” Suter said. “Maybe you’re not thinking about it, but every other ad was a dot-com bubble. That’s something you’re seeing now in the betting space, it’s just spiked.”
Big NFL season for sports betting
In April, following years of distancing itself from sports betting, the NFL announced a “tri-exclusive” main sportsbook partnership with:
The league then opened up the airwaves for sports betting advertisements during games — up to six per broadcast. Caesars led sportsbooks in ad spending adjacent to the NFL at $73.1 million, according to Ad Age. FanDuel was second at $47.3 million.
“We have to avoid oversaturation of the game with sports betting talk or risk alienating fans,” NFL Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Christopher Halpin told the New York Times in September. “My mother loves her N.F.L., but she doesn’t want gambling talk.”
Halpin also told the Times sports betting could be worth more than $1 billion in revenue for the league and its teams over the next 10 years.
Two reasons for Super Bowl betting ads
Suter said an advertiser has two main reasons to spend the $6.5 million for a 30-second ad spot in this year’s Super Bowl. One reason is simply getting eyeballs on a product and having it pop in the “cultural conversation.”
The other is using the platform as a place to push creativity to the front. Suter believes that might be where Caesars is aiming with its announced campaign, and not seeking to grab extra Super Bowl betting.
All of this year’s Super Bowl ad slots on broadcast partner NBC are sold out, according to Variety, with some selling for as much as $7 million. Last year, a 30-second slot cost approximately $5.5 million.
Caesars Super Bowl push
Caesars announced last week it would have a Super Bowl featuring actor J.B. Smoove, reprising his role as Caesar, and actress Halle Berry. The ad will also feature the Manning family, including former Super Bowl winners Peyton and Eli.
“Our goal for Super Bowl isn’t pregame acquisition,” Caesars Entertainment CMO Sharon Ottermana told Ad Age. “We have entertainment in our name, and we’re going to approach the Super Bowl like any major brand would.”
The ad was directed by Stacy Wall, who Suter said is a major name in the commercial production industry. Caesars is one of the ads Suter said he is looking forward to most during the big game.
Caesars will also run some in-game local advertising, according to Ad Age. Those will include Eli, Peyton and Archie Manning talking to camera about responsible gaming.
DraftKings Super Bowl, part II
DraftKings was the first sportsbook brand to announce it spent the millions of dollars for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl, according to Adweek.
During the game last year, DraftKings ran two 15-second ads promoting a free-to-play contest.
This year, it will be one 30-second ad produced by VaynerMedia.
FanDuel, others plans for Super Bowl
FanDuel will feature actress Jennifer Coolidge in a new “Lady Luck” campaign during the week leading up to the Super Bowl, but not during the game. The campaign features the sportsbook’s special 56:1 Super Bowl betting odds for new customers.
BetMGM will focus on regional pre-show advertising in markets where it is live, while WynnBet will focus its advertising efforts — three pre-game and one in the third-quarter — on the New York sports betting market. Wynn launched last week in New York.
PointsBet, in its unique position as the official sportsbook partner of NBC, will run 30-second commercials featuring former NFL quarterback and NBC analyst Drew Brees during the pregame show in core markets, including New York and Pennsylvania. The sportsbook will also have pre-game ads in Colorado and in-game regional spots in Iowa and West Virginia.
Does star power help sports betting ads?
Whether it is Ben Affleck and Shaq in ads for WynnBet, or Jamie Foxx for BetMGM, celebrities have made their presence felt in sports betting advertising.
Suter does not know what that means in the long term for value for sportsbooks.
“Having likable people, it’s definitely something that doesn’t hurt,” he said. “But I don’t know that it equals success.”
Sports betting ads here to stay?
Regulators are questioning the rise and potential over-saturation of sports betting advertising. Within a week of the mobile NY sports betting launch, the ads were noticeably ever-present to everyone in the Empire State.
But just as dot-com ads have not completely disappeared, Suter believes sportsbook ads will not fully taper off.
“I don’t think if a BetMGM performs poorly during an ad campaign, or a FanDuel doesn’t resonate, I don’t think it’s a complete pack it up,” he said. “To me, it’s maybe years down the road, some play themselves out, like one job hunting site vs another, but it just seems like a giant space.”