LVI was the Super Bowl of cryptocurrency commercials.
Super Bowl LVII won’t be. The train wreck of a year that digital money has endured since the Rams (another bad year) beat the Bengals precludes the likes of Coinbase or FTX (wow, very bad year) from wanting to draw much attention to themselves on Sunday. Much less paying $7 million to Fox for 30 seconds of it.
Legal American sportsbook companies haven’t exactly rushed in to fill the void. But they’re still filling some expensive space. And wooing some potential new customers.
DraftKings and Caesars aired commercials during the game last year. This time around, FanDuel makes its Super Bowl debut, and DraftKings returns with a standalone ad and a collaboration with Molson Coors.
It stood to reason that more gambling companies would enter the Super Bowl fray this time, what with sports betting in some form of legal implementation in 36 American jurisdictions. Also, this marks the first time since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018 that a Super Bowl will be played — in Glendale, Ariz. — in a state where sports wagering was legal and underway at the time of the game.
That, however, is more of a historical benchmark for the industry than a point of interest for the 115 million Fox estimates will watch on Sunday and at some point decide whether to urinate, drink, eat, or watch the ads during commercials.
Another factor of definite interest to the industry is the American Gaming Association’s estimate that 50.4 million will be on the Super Bowl.
Either way, it’s DraftKings v. FanDuel, just like it often is out there on the mobile phones, computers, and sportsbook kiosks of America.
“We’re seeing gambling companies come up with promotional events and offers to keep people engaged,” Martin Conway, a professor in Georgetown University’s sports industry management department told Fast Company, “because I think they know that if someone goes 30 or 60 days without participating on the platform, they tend to be gone.”
What To Expect in Sportsbook Super Bowl Commercials
Both sportsbook Super Bowl ads have an interesting throughline. It could be a coincidence. But it’s definitely interesting. Both the DraftKings and FanDuel ads prominently feature retired Massachusetts sports heroes three weeks after retail sports betting began in the state and about a month before the online version is tentatively scheduled to begin.
There’s not a Boston connection to be found in Chiefs v. Eagles, but it’s interesting and maybe a way to get those New England eyes to linger on the screen. Is this as much a Super Bowl ad as a preview of DraftKings’ plan to defend the home turf in the future? He could be a powerful sportsbook brand ambassador in Boston.
Anyway, for DraftKings, the hero in question is Red Sox Hall of Famer David Ortiz. Big Papi isn’t the central figure of the spot, which is set at a Super Bowl party of actor/comedian Kevin Hart, a frequent DraftKings shill. Ortiz gets to deliver the final zinger while dipping a chip in a bust of Hart ostensibly made of nacho cheese (although it looks a lot like butter.)
In the collaboration with Molson Coors, beer-wagering enthusiasts will be able to bet through DraftKings on the outcome of its television commercial.
America’s most popular sports betting brand reached right into DraftKings’ hometown and snatched out a legend: retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
For FanDuel’s first foray into Super Bowl advertising, Gronk gets to do more than grin, dangle bonus code and wear a blue shirt. He’ll attempt a field goal on live TV, a so-called “Kick of Destiny.” And if he makes it, according to the extensive marketing ramp-up preceding the bid, bettors who wagered on the Super Bowl with FanDuel will be entered for a chance to win a share of a $10 million kitty. FanDuel could placate a lot of customers by enrolling them even with a miss – and the short history of American sportsbook marketing points to this – but you know you’re going to watch anyway.
Related: FanDuel, Gronk ad plays well with sports marketer | Ohio sports betting regulations force changes in Super Bowl ads