What happened in the first week of NFL play? That’s not really our specialty, more for the folks at ESPN. What we can tell you is what advertising looked like during the first week of the NFL season and all we can say is we’re glad football is back. NFL games bring in one of the largest consistent audiences, and in a world that is increasingly digital, it’s something that is still almost exclusively watched on traditional media. While the world is increasingly moving to CTV and other digital means of advertising, traditional media is still the bread and butter of the tv advertising world. Let’s take a look at the ad intelligence and biggest trends and surprises from the first week of NFL advertising.

Crypto and Sports Betting Ad Intel

Sports betting has been around since probably before recorded history, but has been illegal for most sports, in most states since the 1919 “Black Sox” World Series scandal. Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is a very new thing and large companies advertising crypto trading is even newer. Both were reported to be large parts of the NFL’s advertising inventory, but that wasn’t completely true during the leagues debut week. Sports betting was beaten only by fast food in terms of ad volume. We saw a total of nearly 14,000 market-level ad occurrences from fast food advertisers, which is pretty typical especially during sporting events. What’s not typical are the 6,500 ad occurrences we saw from sports betting advertisers. We expect this number to continue to rise as the NFL continues to embrace this industry and sports betting is legalized in more states. The star power and money behind the ads was also new as most sports betting ads in the past have been relatively low-budget and focused almost entirely on some particular promotion they’re running. Crypto however, only saw one ad by a crypto trading company FTX. FTX did not disappoint on delivering star power, as their ad featured the legendary quarterback, Tom Brady. Tom Brady is probably featured in more ads right now than any other athlete and appeared in this particular FTX  ad 173 times.

Rundown of the rest

Here’s everything else that happened during the first week of NFL advertising:

  1. Geico, as usual, aired the most ads during NFL games at nearly 4,000 occurrences, followed by FanDuel at 3,100.
  2. Over 200 new ads aired during NFL games. The top new ad (shown below) was from Lowe’s.
  3. The ads with the most occurrences were from DirecTV, FanDuel, and Bud Light. All three of these ads aired more than 1,500 times.
  4. Alcohol advertisers only aired ads less than 5,500 times. This seems relatively small compared to fast food advertising, the two of which generally make up a fairly large portion of all ad airings in other sports advertising we’ve tracked.

We’ll continue to cover advertising trends and ad intelligence throughout the football season. We expect the number of Crypto ads and advertisers to rise as the season progresses and will be tracking any surprises or new trends in NFL advertising.