After blitzing the airwaves with seemingly limitless commercials and other branded advertising, are DraftKings and FanDuel pumping the brakes on their relentless marketing?

It doesn’t seem likely, considering how much all of those ads have significantly raised the profile of daily fantasy sports and the top two companies running DFS games. Yet as Legal Sports Report’s Dustin Gouker points out, neither FanDuel nor DraftKings were among the top 10 spenders on TV commercial advertising last week.

You might recall that in the first week of September, DraftKings spent more money on TV ads than any other company — more than AT&T, who had cell phones and coverage plans to promote, or film studios like Warner Brothers, with big theatrical releases to push. But that was at the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons, when viewership for those opening weekends is at a peak while interest in fantasy sports is likely at its highest.

This might lead many to speculate that daily fantasy sports companies are pulling back with so much scrutiny especially — from the media and government — over insider trading allegations and whether or not these contests constitute gambling. It’s certainly not a question of having the money for advertising, though DraftKings and FanDuel have obviously spent a ton of it on marketing. But it may have more to do with the time of year.


Daily fantasy companies surely want to continue signing up players, but are they as likely to draw people in after football season has already started? (Of course, the NBA and NHL seasons are beginning, but those sports have never been as popular among fantasy players as football and baseball.) Maybe the business model was to make a major push at the opening week of football season and then gradually dial down as the season progressed.

Something else to consider is that we’re approaching the holidays, so companies with product to sell have a major stake in drawing in potential consumers and compelling them to spend their disposable incomes. (Cell phone manufacturers like Samsung and Apple were among the top 10 spenders.) Also, we’re at the time of year when open enrollment for insurance companies is beginning, which is surely why GEICO was the top TV ad buyer last week, according to iSpotTV.

If DraftKings and FanDuel continue to fall outside the top 10 TV commercial spenders in the weeks to come, that might constitute a trend worth noting. Until more information becomes available, this may end up being just an anomaly during a particular week.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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