Feel like sports broadcasts have turned into a never-ending stream of ads for daily fantasy leagues? You’re not wrong. According to media tracking site ispot.tv (via Dustin Gouker of Legal Sports Report), daily fantasy site DraftKings spent over $24 million on U.S. TV ads in the week ending Monday, more than any other company. ispot.tv’s tracker is constantly updating, so that total has fallen to $23 million for the week ending Wednesday, but that still puts DraftKings on top of the ad spending world. What’s particularly remarkable is when you look at the traditional companies they’re ahead of. Here’s a screenshot of the ispot.tv tracker as of Wednesday afternoon:
It’s impressive to see a relatively-new company like DraftKings spending so much and pulling ahead of giants like AT&T and Warner Bros., but it’s worth keeping in mind they have a fair bit of money. They just received a massive $300 million round of funding from Fox, MLB, NHL, MLS and more, and while their $250 million deal with ESPN owner Disney fell through, they still have exclusive ad partnerships with ESPN and run contests in conjunction with them. Moreover, this isn’t out of the blue; while they’ve amped up their spending further ahead of the NFL season, they’ve regularly been in the top five in this tracker. It’s also interesting to note that DraftKings appears to be going more for volume buys than high-priced slots: their 6,162 national airings are way more than anyone else’s, giving them a per-airing estimated cost of just $3,760. Compare that to AT&T’s $5,822, Warner’s $5,866, Ford’s $11,444 and Nissan’s $17,946. That, plus their obvious focus on the sports market, may be part of why it feels like DraftKings’ commercials show up way more during sports than those other companies’ ads do.
Are these giant ad buys actually working, though? Well, Gouker writes that DraftKings appears to be seeing some promising results from their vast spending:
The data from the past week — combined with an estimate on TV ad spend for the first eight months of 2015 of $82 million — makes it appear that DraftKings has spent more than $100 million on commercials this year.
…The big question for DraftKings is if all the TV spend is resulting in new customers that are depositing and entering contests, and if those customers will continue to play after Week 1 of the NFL season. After paying out some overlay for contests based on Week 1 of the college season, there has been some question of how well DraftKings was doing on these fronts.
DraftKings needs more than 950,000 entries to fill its top two contests that start on Sunday (including the $10 million Millionaire Maker); it already has attracted nearly 300,000 entries for those. With just under a week until those contests lock, it seems like DraftKings has the momentum to fill them.
Right now, the massive ad campaign appears to be working as DraftKings attempts to wrest control of the DFS market decisively from FanDuel. And you’re likely to continue to see a lot of DraftKings commercials over the next week.
We’ll see if spending this much of their funding on ads continues to pay off for DraftKings, if they can gain a firm edge over competitors like FanDuel, and if they can convert these signups into eventual paying customers. For at the next while, though, it doesn’t look like the flood of DraftKings ads will be going anywhere. Let’s ask college sports executives what they think of that…