If you are reading this article on this site, chances are you know about daily fantasy sports (DFS). And while daily fantasy sports have certainly grown in popularity and are a much larger part of the American public’s consciousness than they were even just a year ago, there are still lots of people out there who know nothing about them. Even sports fans familiar with fantasy sports in general may only think of old-school rotisserie baseball when someone brings up the fantasy pastime.
But if anyone walking through Times Square in New York City today was unaware of fantasy sports, they most definitely know one site to visit to learn about them now. DFS market leader DraftKings has absolutely plastered Times Square, the electronic billboard capital of the known universe, with gigantic advertisements. You can’t miss them – turn in any direction and you are face to face with a towering green DraftKings sign, promoting the site’s $10 million guaranteed contest to kick off the upcoming NFL season.
Ethan Shibutani, Marketing Acquisition Associate for DraftKings, posted four pictures of the Times Square scene on Twitter, remarking, “Incredible.” One Times Square, the Thomson Reuters Building, the Conde Nast Building, they all have DraftKings covering them.
Are You Ready for Some Football?
The timing of the advertising blitz is no random coincidence. The calendar has turned to September, which means football season is about to start in the United States. NCAA football begins this week, while next Thursday marks opening night for the NFL. Football season is the biggest sports betting season in the United States and it’s not even close. According to a report by the UNLV Center for Gaming Research, football comprised half of Nevada’s sports betting win (casino profit: cash in less payouts) in 2014. Basketball was a distant second at about 24 percent. The dominance was similar for drop – the estimated total amount bet – as bettors wagered $1.75 billion on football in Nevada casinos last year, compared to $1.1 billion for basketball and 722 million for baseball.
With DFS growing in popularity over the last few years, it seems like this football season could be a tipping point of sorts, as the industry makes a push to not just be a niche hobby, but to be a significant part of sports culture, both for the die-hard and casual fans. DraftKings is going hard next week, with not just the $10 million contest, but three more NFL contests with million dollar-plus guarantees and many more with six-figure guarantees. Daily fantasy sites have had a history of overlays in their contests; they are hoping this is the year they get over the top and consistently hit their guarantees naturally.
DraftKings is also in a major arms race with FanDuel. The two are the clear-cut top dogs of the DFS industry, battling it out for number one. Right now, we at Daily Fantasy News have DraftKings as the largest DFS site in the industry on our GPP Tracker, with over $115 million in guaranteed prize pools over the last four months. FanDuel is second with about $83 million. While there are other excellent sites out there, none come even remotely close to those two in sheer volume.
Turn On Your TV and There They Are
The ads in Times Square, while highly visible, are just a small part of DraftKings’ marketing onslaught. According to iSpot.tv, DraftKings is not just one of the top advertisers in fantasy sports, but one of the biggest corporate ad spenders, period. During the past seven days, DraftKings has spent over $16 million on television advertising, second only to Warner Bros. ($19.4 million) and AT&T ($16.9 million). DraftKings has spent more than the likes of GEICO, Ford, and Taco Bell; it has nearly spent more in TV ads than T-Mobile and State Farm combined. And it has aired the most commercials of any of the top ten money spenders: 6,689. The next most is from GEICO, which has aired 5,301.