It seems as if DraftKings is everywhere. The daily fantasy company is advertising on NFL games, college football games, every sports network and has been popping up on networks where you wouldn’t expect. Commercials for DraftKings and its Daily Fantasy Sports rival FanDuel are to sports networks as political advertising is to local television stations, a financial goldmine.
DraftKings mentions even showed up in of all places, Matthew Berry’s “Love/Hate” fantasy column at ESPN.com. In fact, Berry devoted several lengthy paragraphs touting the benefits of DraftKings in his Week 1 edition. Here’s an example:
This year, the column will still be the same as you have always known. Intros, lots of players, and this season we will add more of a focus on daily fantasy (DFS), specifically geared toward the official daily fantasy sports provider of ESPN, DraftKings.com. In case you’ve somehow been under a rock, we are doing a pretty cool promotion with them. Sign up to play in a league on ESPN.com (there’s still time!) and then enter the Millionaire Maker on DraftKings.com.
That’s just one of many paragraphs and mentions for DraftKings in the column. We didn’t count them, but Deadspin did stating that Berry sprinkled mentions of the company 29 times throughout his article.
The blatant plugs for DraftKings caught the attention of not just Deadspin, but several websites plus readers who called out Berry for being a shill for the company. Berry decided to respond in the Week 2 edition of “Love/Hate” and made no bones about being a paid endorser plus he laid on the love quite thick:
Full disclosure: I am a paid spokesman for them. I’ve filmed a few commercials for them, I’m going to continue to tweet for them, make appearances on their behalf and there will be opportunities for people to play against me on their site in the future. It’s a deal I agreed to for one very specific reason:
I like it.
I like the product, I like the company, I know the people who run the company and they’re good people. I really enjoy playing daily fantasy and I really enjoy doing it on DraftKings. I’d recommend them anyway, so if they want to send me a check to do it? You bet. Where do I sign?
O.k., you like them, Matthew. You got paid. We get it.
This is part of a huge advertising deal that DraftKings signed with ESPN earlier this year. Not only does it mean ads, but branding throughout ESPN’s platforms and apparently in columns. It’s spending a huge amount of money not just on ESPN, but other networks and its presence is to the point of oversaturation. Viewers are seeing the DraftKings ads so often that they’re reacting rather unkindly.
The presence of the Daily Fantasy Sports sites has increased so much they they’re encroaching in all parts of daily life. Perhaps DraftKings will sponsor caskets and funerals down the line.