Pre-Superbowl Surge in Sports Betting Advertising


It’s no surprise that there has been an increase in sports betting advertising in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. Gambling is legal in more states than ever and the internet and cell phones are making accessing sports betting easier than ever. And, while we’re all sick of hearing about it, Covid-19 is forcing people to make bets online instead of in person. So here’s a quick rundown of some of the trends in online gambling ads we’ve seen over the past few weeks.

Increased Sports Betting Ad Volume

Topline: ads are increasing. This is both the number of ad airing and the number of individual creatives. Since August 1, we have seen the number of creatives on air increase from around 60 to 127 last week and 103 so far this week. We have seen a similar, more pronounced trend around number of airings, which have increased from 14K the week of October 18 to 47K last week. We have tracked 38K thus far this week. Interestingly, while the number of individual creatives on the air is going up, the number of new ads being produced is not. New ads peaked in September with 46 new creatives airing during that month.

There has been a sharp uptick in sports betting advertising

It raises the question of whether this is just a slow and steady ramp up. Maybe there’s just so much money in online gambling that these companies have just started advertising more. The graph below shows that airings have been significantly higher in the days leading up to a playoff game and then they drop to a very low baseline on the day of a playoff game.

Daily Sports Betting Advertising is Increasing

Who’s driving this? It’s mostly the names you know and are familiar with (maybe because you’ve seen an ad of theirs recently). FanDuel, Draft Kings, and BetMGM, among others, have all almost doubled their total number of airings since November 1. They have also increased their share of ads as compared to other gambling companies. FanDuel, for example, has increased their ad airings from 11K the first week of November to 22K last week. Their share of total gambling ads on air went from 4.7% to 9.4% in that same period. Companies that are focused on online poker or other types of non-sports betting have remained relatively constant, allowing those trying to profit off the coming sports betting bubble to make such large gains in the gambling space.

It’s estimated that this will simultaneously be one of the years with the least amount of total money bet on the Superbowl and the best year for online sports betting. Companies with the infrastructure to do so are clearly trying to make headway in the virtual space in a year when placing a bet in person carries some risk. It will be interesting to see how much money is actually placed through online channels and who profits the most from this push, but companies like FanDuel, Draft Kings, and BetMGM are poised to make quite a bit of money. Based on current trends, sports audiences can expect to be served more sports betting advertising in the future.

Post-Super Bowl Update:

Well, like it or not, Tom Brady has done it again. The Super Bowl is over, and the winners and losers were not just on the field. Billions were bet on Super Bowl LV and here’s a look at the sports betting advertising leading up to and during the big game.

Chances are nobody bet that the top market for gameday gambling ad airings would be Indianapolis. There were a total of 13 airings from gambling websites on CBS on gameday, interestingly most were during or after the game. Filling out the top three CBS gameday markets were Marquette, Michigan and Roanoke-Lynchburg, Virginia. The only national ad was by Draft Kings. It’s a pretty standard Draft Kings ad; their spokeswoman standing next to a tv talking in a sports broadcaster voice about a free promotion where you can win up to $1M. It aired at 5:45 EST, just 45 minutes before kickoff, as kind of a last-ditch effort to get people onto their app before the game started.

Sports betting ads peaked during the hour before the Super Bowl at 497 airings across all networks, 197 of those were on CBS stations. From 6 PM to 12 AM, across all 212 CBS affiliates, there were only 121 airings from online gambling sites. The graph below highlights the plummet from the hours of 5-6 on CBS stations.

Sports Betting Ad Volume Day of Superbowl

FanDuel won the day as far as number of airings. They had a total of 2,882 airings across the country with 31 individual creatives. The most aired ad as seen below was another Draft Kings ad with 855 airings.

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