Betting on Sports: Fantasy, Sportsbook TV Ads Growing in 2021

Sports betting still hasn’t been legalized nationally, but an increasing number of states have legal sportsbooks. Now that the NFL and NHL both have teams in Las Vegas, those leagues — and others in the U.S. — have recently changed long-standing policies around betting to one that embraces the related culture and brands in the space.

For the NFL, that means an increase from one fantasy sports/sports betting ad per game last year to six per game during the 2021 season. In the lead-up to what should be a busy fall for bettors, fantasy and betting brands have already been active on TV in 2021.

From Jan. 1-Sept. 9, DraftKings’ year-over-year national TV ad spend is up 98%, and TV ad impressions are up 34%. Over 75% of DraftKings’ 2021 impressions are from sports-related programs (games or highlight shows). The brand has dramatically increased its emphasis on local-market ads as well, to target bettors in the growing number of states where it’s legal. Through early September of last year, nearly 27% of DraftKings’ TV ad impressions were local — that’s ballooned to 40.5% during the same stretch in 2021.

FanDuel has made similar moves. After spending just $5.0 million on national TV ads from Jan. 1-Sept. 9 in 2020, the brand spent $11.1 million in the same period for 2021 — while impressions were up 67%. Local ads were also a larger emphasis year-over-year for FanDuel, as those impressions increased from about 45% to 55%. Over 80% of FanDuel’s 2021 TV ad impressions have been during sports-related programming.

Despite those two brands being the giants of online sports betting in the U.S., there are plenty of other players in the space, too — including those tied to casinos, which have obviously been in business for quite some time. To date, casino & gambling national TV ad spend is up about 5x year-over-year, with impressions increasing by nearly 10x. 

Players like BetMGM, FOX Bet, Caesars and Wiliam Hill have emphasized sports programming heavily as well — even when not explicitly advertising their respective sportsbooks. Nearly 80% of TV ad impressions for those four have been dedicated to sports. And that’s before accounting for what should be an influx coinciding with the NFL and college football seasons.

TV trends change, and neither ad buyers nor sellers want to be caught by surprise. Reach out to iSpot today for a demo on how you can stay on top of evolving TV ad industries like betting and fantasy sports — plus hundreds more.